The MIT Kresge Auditorium, originally designed by Eero Saarinen, and built in 1953, is defined by its iconic shell structured roof, and a narrow sight line curtain wall system.  The original curtain wall was designed as an aluminum skin system, anchored to steel fins behind.  MIT commissioned the historic renovation of the auditorium, featuring a replacement of the weathered facade with a custom stainless steel curtain wall system that replicates the original.

Objectives included:

  • Retaining the original curtain wall design, shapes and dimensions
  • Replacing the original laminated glass with an insulated make-up, with low-e coating
  • Fabricating the new system from stainless steel
  • Working under a 2016 project completion deadline to meet the 100 year anniversary of the Cambridge campus
  • Satisfying the requirements of the Historical Commission with the new glazing system


The key design and fabrication challenges were to faithfully reproduce the aesthetic of the aluminum system.  From the start, Bellwether proposed the use of laser fused stainless steel in order to get the tight corner welds that resemble an extrusion.  Bellwether began the project with a meticulous 8 month design development contract, to work through:

  • The creation of the system and full shop drawings
  • The consideration of options for stainless finish, glass make-ups
  • Coordination on installation methods
  • Creation of sample components and onsite visual mock-ups for final approval


Materials were delivered pre-fabricated and pre-finished for the most efficient installation.  The system was delivered in stages.  Original walls were removed, interior steel fins were refinished and straightened, and the new system was installed.  The new curtain wall retains the overall aesthetic of the building, while presenting a crisp new appearance.


Cambridge, MA


EYP, Boston, MA

Products Used

Custom Stainless Steel Curtain Wall