Crowds of students, faculty members, and staff enter the Foisie Innovation Studio during the grand opening celebration.

Open for Innovation

A glimpse into the new home of the next big thing in, well, everything
August 24, 2018

It’s finally here.

After blizzards and rain and heat waves and … uh, more snow … the Foisie Innovation Studio and Messenger Residence Hall opened its doors to the WPI community on Thursday, August 16. The building officially opened at 3pm, and by 3:01, students, faculty, and staff were deep in the throes of scouting out the new lounges, labs, classrooms, and makerspaces situated smack-dab in the heart of campus.

All of us here at WPI are pretty excited about what’s to come. So grab a pretzel or a smoothie, take a peek into the newest building on campus, and start imagining the next innovations ready and waiting to take shape.


You’ve heard of Make Way for Ducklings? In the innovation studio you’ll have to make way for robots. Junior Jess McKenna, who showcased 3D-printed cats and other robots during the opening, is excited for the mix of new labs and resources she and her peers have at their fingertips. “Everything is all in one place now,” she says. “It’ll be so easy to work with each other and our professors to design new ideas and bring them to life.”

The Class of 1964 Connections Gallery features a two-story video wall showcasing a visual representation of the WPI Plan, including photos from project centers, university facts and figures, campus snapshots, and student profiles. The best way to describe it came from one particularly impressed student: “It’s so much, I think I’m just going to sit and take it all in.”

Among the labs and classrooms and makerspaces are several meeting spaces for WPI students, faculty, and staff to do what they do best—brainstorm, collaborate, and ultimately leave the world a little better than they found it.

Class is in session, but these aren’t your typical lecture halls. The active learning classrooms are designed with flexibility in mind, making it easier for students to gather in groups or for faculty to move around the room while teaching. Visitors gather outside one of the classrooms during the grand opening.

With all the world-changing that’s happening, there’s got to be a place to refuel, which is where Auntie Anne’s and Planet Smoothie come in. Students, faculty, and staff are tackling giant problems day in and day out, but sometimes, the toughest decision come down to the choice between original and cinnamon sugar pretzels.