The MIT Federal Credit Union is a banking institution serving students and employees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Working closely with credit union executive leadership to plan and execute the organization’s move into a newly-acquired office building in Lexington, Massachusetts, Dyer Brown designed a leading-edge workplace that reflects the institution’s tech-savvy yet approachable brand identity.
The MIT Federal Credit Union wanted a cutting-edge workplace, full of light and with a clean, modern appearance, and exhibiting strong ties to the campus community and brand. These clear goals for the project emerged from client engagement workshops, a thorough and collaborative visioning process that involved MIT Federal Credit Union leaders and employees.
The design celebrates a separate-yet-connected paradigm for the off-campus headquarters, both aesthetically and functionally. The finishes draw inspiration from both MIT’s and the credit union’s brand identities, creating a visual continuity with the Cambridge campus, and strongly reinforcing the relationship between the two entities. To support the functional connection, the architects worked with consultants to integrate and upgrade data infrastructure, creating a secure line for the constant flow of data between the two locations. Virtual teller machines were added in the Lexington space and at the campus student center to further maintain face-to-face connectivity.
Dyer Brown’s design also includes considerations for security challenges unique to banking institutions. For example, the programming locates critical data infrastructure above the 100-year-flood line to ensure the protection of electronic record-keeping. The organization’s data center is located on the highest floor of the building and connects to credit union operations on the Cambridge campus via duplicate wiring – providing necessary redundancy to ensure transactions are processed securely in real time.
The scope of Dyer Brown’s design also included updating the building’s circulation areas, with all public-facing spaces focused around an interconnecting stair atrium. This strategic choice for programming offers ease of navigation while simplifying future planning and expansion efforts. The reception area features a color palette of warm grays with geometric pops of red “pixels,” underscoring the organization’s brand identity. On the second floor, a café amenity sits adjacent to the stair, fostering a sense of community. Here, as well as in the large second floor café, larger red accents (taken from the red in the Institutions’ logos) appear above all public spaces, serving to define them. For the office areas, symmetrical layouts underscore the stability associated with ﬁnancial institutions, while diagonal details express dynamism and innovation – values that MIT and the Credit Union share.