Building 17/Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel Renovation

Questions? Concerns? Contact wbwt-info [at]

Note: The alley between Buildings 17 and 31 is closed to vehicular access and is expected to remain closed for the duration of the project. Pedestrian access will be maintained to the Building 33 entry, and construction and emergency vehicles will continue to travel through the alley. Access to the Building 35 loading dock will also remain available. View the walking paths.

Construction Updates:
Please check back for important community updates.

  • Early November: Interior demolition of Building 17 is scheduled to begin in early November and to continue until December. Crews are scheduled to be onsite from 11PM to 7AM, Sunday through Friday. Noise is expected during this activity.
  • Oct. 13, 2019: Crews are scheduled to begin overnight demolition of the wind tunnel. Heavy noise is expected. As the building is disassembled, an excavator will hoist the pieces onto trucks to be removed from the site. Construction vehicles are scheduled to enter the site from Vassar Street using the driveway between Buildings 35 and 37; they will exit the site onto Mass Ave via the driveway between Buildings 9 and 33. Please be alert and use caution when walking in the area. Police will be stationed along the site and street to assist with traffic and pedestrians. This work is scheduled for approximately 4 weeks.
  • Sept. 30, 2019: Fencing has gone up around the construction area. The alleyway behind Building 33 is now closed to thru traffic. Only construction vehicles and Building 35 loading dock deliveries are permitted. View the walking paths.
  • Sept. 20, 2019: The project team hosted a community info session to provide a logistical overview and to address questions and concerns.

Project Overview:
For more than 80 years, MIT’s Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel has been a powerful testing tool for aviation and space flight innovation, advancing research for industry leaders as well as MIT. Its high wind capabilities have been used to assess the aerodynamics properties of everything from motorcycles, aircraft, and drones to Olympic ski gear, space suits, and potential building structures. Today, a project is underway to build an upgraded wind tunnel on the same site as the original, which will be dismantled. When completed, the new facility will be the largest, most advanced academic wind tunnel in the country.

The project will include a full rehabilitation of Building 17, as well as some infrastructure work in the first-floor electrical room in Building 37 and in the Building 33 Hangar. Construction is expected to be completed in Spring 2021.


Artist's rendering of MIT's new Wright Brother's Wind Tunnel

Artist's rendering of MIT's new Wright Brother's Wind Tunnel