Kendall/MIT Infill and Small Developments

erom

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Eh, MIT has a fairly long history of being hostile to the culture that's developed in their dorms. They really want people to identify with their class year, not their living hall. Eliminating the historic/cultural identify of Random Hall is probably seen as a positive to the administration. See both Bexley and Senior House as precedents where they used building renovation (even when legitimately needed) as cover to eliminate both cultural and architectural history (given that they ultimately ended up bulldozing Bexley).
 

BeeLine

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Gameguy326

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Eh, MIT has a fairly long history of being hostile to the culture that's developed in their dorms. They really want people to identify with their class year, not their living hall. Eliminating the historic/cultural identify of Random Hall is probably seen as a positive to the administration. See both Bexley and Senior House as precedents where they used building renovation (even when legitimately needed) as cover to eliminate both cultural and architectural history (given that they ultimately ended up bulldozing Bexley).
Fair point, unfortunately.
 

Brad Plaid

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The North Plaza park (where the skating rink operates) was recently renovated and dedicated to Henri Termeer, a Kendall Square pioneer and Genzyme exec. It's now called Henri A. Termeer Square. The existing mound that was bisected by a sidewalk and fountain had one of the halves removed and is the focal point with Termeer's statue. This redesign opens up the plaza considerably and creates a lot of seating but as a whole it's pretty conventional, a missed opportunity for something more memorable.
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shmessy

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Equilibria

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I don't know if this has been posted, but I stumbled upon some renders of the new MIT Music Building being designed by SANAA. IMO, it looks quite nice.

Wow... that looks like a ventilation building. Does MIT explicitly ask architects to do their worst work for them, or is it something that just happens organically?

Just for an immediate comparison, here's what even a modicum of effort gets you with performance space. None of these is the Sydney Opera House, but come on.

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bigpicture7

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Actually, one can clearly see how the design plays directly off of this, which is directly across the way. Everything from the brick walls to the simple arches are an homage.

I think this really works in context. Saarinen's grand Kresge Auditorium, with its walls of glass and patina'd copper roof will abut this along one side, so no need for this to be a visual attention grabber.
 

Equilibria

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Actually, one can clearly see how the design plays directly off of this, which is directly across the way. Everything from the brick walls to the simple arches are an homage.

I think this really works in context. Saarinen's grand Kresge Auditorium, with its walls of glass and patina'd copper roof will abut this along one side, so no need for this to be a visual attention grabber.
I get that, but the fact that one person got away with a windowless brick box doesn't justify doing additional windowless brick boxes as an homage.

It's not about grabbing attention, it's about the fact that this place will be depressing to look at and to walk into in the morning. This is the sort of building you tear down these days, not build.
 

bigpicture7

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I get that, but the fact that one person got away with a windowless brick box doesn't justify doing additional windowless brick boxes as an homage.

It's not about grabbing attention, it's about the fact that this place will be depressing to look at and to walk into in the morning. This is the sort of building you tear down these days, not build.
I think that chapel is one of the least depressing things to walk by in the area. Its peacefulness lowers my blood pressure. The water filled moat and hidden windows (under the cantilever) are brilliant. Even it's little modernist "drawbridge" is great.

This new performing arts center will be dwarfed by Kresge. It's replacing a paved surface lot; it has old growth trees on one side and the glass walls of Kresge on the other. I suspect it will not be depressing to most passersby.
 

erom

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Also, it's trying to cram a lot of performance space into a tiny lot. Those big beautiful buildings you posted usually have things between the performance space and the exterior walls - hallways, galleries, backstage. Here the exterior wall of the auditoriums is right up against the exterior wall of the building. Windows would actually be quite inconvenient for the user, right?

This counts as brutalist, right? Big brick cubes?
 

RandomWalk

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Brutalist is a reference to the raw concrete, so this isn’t brutalist. It’s brutal, though.
 

kz1000ps

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I think this one is going to come down to whether it feels large or small in person. If it's small-ish then the volumes will read almost cutesy like children's block toys, but if it looms then yeah you basically have a brutal '70s hulk.

This angle looms IMO

 

fattony

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It certainly isn’t beautiful, there is something very “MIT” about it. Clean, simple, functional and also a little mysterious. I don’t like it per se, but I don’t hate it.
 

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