Posted on

MODERN ARCHITECTURE AT THE MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

20140408_131738

Kresge Auditorium by Eero Saarinen

`

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.

KRESGE AUDITORIUM

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.

The interior of the auditorium.

The interior of the auditorium.

The main auditorium.

The main auditorium.

Entrance to the Little Theatre

Entrance to the Little Theatre

Great windows.

Great windows.

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.

One of the interesting supports of the shell.

One of the interesting supports of the shell.

Great cuves.

Great curves.

 THE CHAPEL

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.

The Chapel by Eero Saarinen.

The Chapel by Eero Saarinen, Theodore Roszak, and Harry Bertoia .

The back of the Chapel.  The entrance is a nice rectangular building.

Back of the Chapel. The entrance is a nice rectangular building.

Beautiful low arches and nice fountain surrounding  the Chapel.

Beautiful low arches and cool moat. I love the tower.

The main entrance.  It has lots of mid century features.

The main entrance. It has lots of mid century features.

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.

Amazing skylight.

Amazing skylight.

Behind the altar is a sculpture by Harry Bertoia.  This sculpture is also used to help scatter light throughout the room.

Breathtaking sculpture by one my favorite designers:

Breathtaking sculpture by one my favorite designers: Harry Bertoia.

The sculpture and skylight give the impression that a rain of light is coming from the roof. Lovely.

The sculpture and skylight give the impression that a rain of light is coming from the roof. Lovely.

Picture of the interior of the Chapel taken from the back of the sculpture.

Picture of the interior of the Chapel taken from the back of the sculpture.

A closer view of the sculpture.

A closer view of the sculpture.

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.

by Alvar Aalto

The Baker House by Alvar Aalto

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.

Main entrance to the Baker House

Main entrance to the Baker House

1275084718-emilygeoff3cc-375x500

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.

The Faculty Center

The Faculty Center

Different view of the Faculty Center

Different view of the Faculty Center

Interesting building with cool arches.

Interesting building with cool arches.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s