Killian Court

Your Guide
Laura Tenny, ASLA

Killian Court sits at the historic core of the early 20th century central campus. The park-like main court and its smaller side courts, duPont and Lowell, which total approximately 3.5 acres in size, are enclosed on three sides by the “Main Group” buildings.

Designed by architect William Welles Bosworth in a restrained Beaux-Arts style, the limestone-clad Main Group buildings were constructed between 1913 and 1916. The great domed Building 10 sits at the head of Killian Court. The court faces the Charles River and provides views of the Boston skyline.  Once known as The Great Court, Killian Court was renamed in 1974 in honor of the Institute’s 10th president, James R. Killian, Jr. 

Originally laid out in paved parterres with sparse vegetation, the court was lushly planted in the 1920s with a park-like arrangement of lawn and rows of canopy trees.  It retains its strong symmetry and axes.

Since 1979, Killian Court has hosted MIT’s Commencement exercises. Annually in June, more than 13,000 people gather to watch new graduates process across a stage erected in front of Building 10. 

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