Our name is derived from the famous Building 20 at M.I.T. that was a cradle of innovation and divergent thinking for over 50 years. A recent New Yorker article described Building 20 this way:
“Building 20 was home to the Laboratory for Nuclear Science, the Linguistics Department, and the machine shop. There was a particle accelerator, the R.O.T.C., a piano repair facility, and a cell-culture lab.
Building 20 became a strange, chaotic domain, full of groups who had been thrown together by chance and who knew little about one another’s work. And yet, by the time it was finally demolished, in 1998, Building 20 had become a legend of innovation, widely regarded as one of the most creative spaces in the world. In the postwar decades, scientists working there pioneered a stunning list of breakthroughs, from advances in high-speed photography to the development of the physics behind microwaves. Building 20 served as an incubator for the Bose Corporation. It gave rise to the first video game and to Chomskyan linguistics.”
Our name speaks to the unlimited capacity for creativity, innovation and self-realization when individuals are free to pursue their passions and interests – a key design tenet of Building 21. The alteration from “20” to “21” indicates our intention to build off of the inspirational example of Building 20 while also acknowledging the awe-inspiring challenges and opportunities facing our educational system in the 21st century.