Last Spring I was in Boston. What a great city! Very historical and charming. Also, while in Boston, I was able to get a tour of Harvard and the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Since I was a teenager, living in a foreign country, I wanted to visit these two institutions. I was not disappointed. Their architecture, libraries and academic resources are unique. In terms or modern architecture, the MIT has some iconic structures that it is worthwhile visiting. Many of the buildings have been designed by leading architects, among them, Alvar Aalto, Eduardo Catalano, Stephen Holl, Frank Gehry, and Eero Saarinen. Sculptures, murals, and paintings, including works of Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, and Louise Nevelson are found throughout the campus.
The building was designed by the prestigious Eero Saarinen. Its initial occupancy was 1955. The main auditorium seats 1,200 people. The Little Theater, with a capacity of 212, is used for the theatrical productions including the Drama Shop and Shakespeare Ensemble. Downstairs are the rehearsal rooms for the Choral Society, Concert and Jazz Bands, and various ensembles.
Among Kresge’s interesting features is its outer shell which is one eighth of a sphere that floats free from the rest of the auditorium. Three deeply sunk abutments support the shell, while the auditorium’s interior is build from the ground. The roof of the building is only supported in three places and in the middle it is only 3 1/2 inches thick. A Woltkampf Organ is located in the main auditorium.
This is one of my favorite buildings at the MIT. The architect for the building was Eero Saarinen, 1955. There are currently 32 active and long-standing student religious organizations. The Chapel bell tower and bell were designed by sculptor Theodore Roszak.
Sunlight striking the moat around the windowless Chapel is reflected upward into the arches at the base and appears in sparkling dots on light on the interior walls.
Behind the altar is a sculpture by Harry Bertoia. This sculpture is also used to help scatter light throughout the room.
THE BAKER HOUSE
Alvar Aalto designed the Baker House in 1946 while he was a professor at the Massachussets Institute of Technology, where the dormitory is located. It received its name in 1950, after the MIT’s Dean of Students Everett Moore Baker was killed in an airplane crash that year. The dormitory is a curving snake slithering on its site and reflects many of Aalto’s ideas of formal strategy, making it a dormitory that is both inhabited and studied by students from all over the world.
The site runs along the north side of the Charles River and from the very start Aalto’s plans seek to find ways of maximizing the view of the river for every student. Aalto refused to design north-facing rooms since he wanted most rooms to have a view of the river from the east or west, and thus proposed enlarging the rooms on the western end into large double and triple rooms that receive both northern and western light. Instead of rooms, a stairway systems is housed on the north side of the building with an unobstructed view of its surroundings.
OTHER INTERESTING BUILDINGS AT THE MIT
The MIT is an amazing institution. Some of its structures encapsulate the modern era like not other school. There are more buildings, murals, and sculptures to talk about but I am just going to stop here. Unfortunately, I do not have time to upload more pictures.