Northstar News

Back to Northstar News

Kendall Square/MIT MBTA Station Entrance Gets a Major Upgrade

October 2022

Northstar was excited to partner with MIT on the unique structural design assist of a 160-foot carbon fiber canopy.The canopy is now installed over the future Kendall Square MBTA Station and is a boat-like structure suspended on 24 stainless steel columns that extend 26 feet in the air.

The canopy was constructed by Lyman-Morse, a custom boat builder in Thomaston, Maine. Typically Lyman works on custom boats. The canopy is their largest building-like structure built to date. The canopy was constructed in two halves in their workshop by pushing a fire-retardant resin through a carbon fiber mesh and then adhering the top and bottom on each half via a series of bulkheads which provides the structural rigidity required.

The design process for this unique feature was extensive and required a design assist process with Lyman-Morse. Design challenges that needed to be overcome included ensuring the canopy could adequately transfer the load onto the 26-foot-tall columns without overstressing the structure. This was achieved via a series of bolted connections that allowed for pinned connections between the columns and canopy. The decision required the columns to provide lateral stiffness to resist wind loads. The columns were each welded to baseplates cast into the slab below and welded to create fixed connections. In addition, the canopy had to be designed to be symmetrical in order to allow the use of the same mold for each half of the canopy structure.

Later this fall, programmable lighting will be suspended from the bottom of the canopy structure, allowing MIT to change colors and create displays for events.

Time lapse videos from our north and south cameras are below.

Design Team: NADAAA (Design Architect), Perkins & Will (Architect of Record)
Structural Engineer: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger  
Lighting Designer: SoSo Limited
General Contractor: Turner Construction
Canopy Manufacturer: Lyman-Morse Boat Building
Time Lapse Video: John Horner Photography