MIT New 450-bed Residence Hall | 121 Vassar St. | Cambridge

Brad Plaid

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
1,124
Reaction score
481
This is mostly fine, the white brick though will have a hard time staying "pure" over the years (it already has consistency issues.) Maybe more thought should have gone into a color that would age better.
DSC_0182.jpeg
DSC_0184.jpeg
DSC_0214.jpeg
DSC_0222.jpeg
DSC_0032.jpeg
 

Massachoicetts

Active Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
496
Reaction score
555
Hmm I dont completely hate it. Dont love it either. Its kinda interesting though I guess. Basically now that its here Id rather have it than not lol.
I agree. But its kind of like a 'why take up all that space for that!' building. Im surprised they didnt cut the amount of land they took up by 1/3, and added 3-4 stories to this. I hope the street wall effect is good atleast. (Im thinking positive here!)
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,548
Reaction score
914
I agree. But its kind of like a 'why take up all that space for that!' building. Im surprised they didnt cut the amount of land they took up by 1/3, and added 3-4 stories to this. I hope the street wall effect is good atleast. (Im thinking positive here!)
I suspect they capped the height based on fire code (I could be wrong, of course). There is essentially a height area that is impractical to build, based on construction costs due to code requirement jumps. You either build 6 or under, or over 10. Rarely in between.
 

Massachoicetts

Active Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
496
Reaction score
555
I suspect they capped the height based on fire code (I could be wrong, of course). There is essentially a height area that is impractical to build, based on construction costs due to code requirement jumps. You either build 6 or under, or over 10. Rarely in between.
Oh very useful information. That actually makes a lot of sense. Thank you for the insight Jeff!
 

JumboBuc

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
2,453
Reaction score
865
I suspect they capped the height based on fire code (I could be wrong, of course). There is essentially a height area that is impractical to build, based on construction costs due to code requirement jumps. You either build 6 or under, or over 10. Rarely in between.
Even for concrete and steel? I thought 6-and-under was usually cheaper because that's as high as you can go with wood (per fire codes). This structure is all concrete and steel, so wood-based cost-benefit calculations don't apply.

It is my understanding that once you're already using concrete and steel, the marginal cost of the 7th/8th/9th stories is low.
 
Last edited:

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,548
Reaction score
914
Even for concrete and steel? I thought 6-and-under was usually cheaper because that's as high as you can go with wood (per fire codes). This structure is all concrete and steel, so wood-based cost-benefit calculations don't apply.

It is my understanding that once you're already using concrete and steel, the marginal cost of the 7th/8th/9th stories is low.
I believe the exterior envelope and firestop ratings all jump around 7 stories. I could be wrong though.
 

mdd

Active Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
762
Reaction score
32
I understand why it's done but I hate joint lines in brick facades. I miss old school masonry.
 

whighlander

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
7,812
Reaction score
639
I believe the exterior envelope and firestop ratings all jump around 7 stories. I could be wrong though.
JeffDowntown -- all about Fire Ladder Companies

If you can reach any of the exterior with a ladder mounted on a truck --- that's about 80 feet -- its much more conducive to putting out the fire

Once you can't reach the floor from the outside only internal fire hydrants can be used for fighting the fire and so in many cases its just holding things back enough to evacuate the building.
 

stellarfun

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
5,184
Reaction score
501
In 1905, the Building Commission for Boston set an absolute height limit of 125 feet; a limit of 100 feet when the building was used fore mercantile purposes; and a limit of 70 feet when the building was not constructed of non-combustible materials.

The city was divided into two districts 'A' and 'B'. 'A' encompassed the business district, and 'B' residential areas. In District B, the maximum height allowed was 80 feet.

See: https://books.google.com/books?id=-...age&q=1905 Building Commission Boston&f=false

The height of buildings being dictated by the reach of the ladder on a hook and ladder truck was more of a 19th Century standard, which became obsolete with construction of 'fireproof' buildings, and the introduction of sprinkler systems. The 70 feet limit was probably the height that could be reached by the hook and ladder trucks of that era. Ladder trucks today can have 110 foot aerials, a few even extend to 125 feet.

The 1905 limits seem designed to retain a sense of scale to Boston streets; generally, the height was to be no more than 2.5 times the width of the street.
 

whighlander

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
7,812
Reaction score
639
In 1905, the Building Commission for Boston set an absolute height limit of 125 feet; a limit of 100 feet when the building was used fore mercantile purposes; and a limit of 70 feet when the building was not constructed of non-combustible materials.

The city was divided into two districts 'A' and 'B'. 'A' encompassed the business district, and 'B' residential areas. In District B, the maximum height allowed was 80 feet.

See: https://books.google.com/books?id=-P_g_Gg7JW4C&pg=PT346&lpg=PT346&dq=1905+Building+Commission+Boston&source=bl&ots=ois3mGqKuC&sig=ACfU3U2xIUe_JaeThWvIelQmk8DChLj8Hg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjp5e3fuvXnAhXHc98KHRPPDZ0Q6AEwBXoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=1905 Building Commission Boston&f=false

The height of buildings being dictated by the reach of the ladder on a hook and ladder truck was more of a 19th Century standard, which became obsolete with construction of 'fireproof' buildings, and the introduction of sprinkler systems. The 70 feet limit was probably the height that could be reached by the hook and ladder trucks of that era. Ladder trucks today can have 110 foot aerials, a few even extend to 125 feet.

The 1905 limits seem designed to retain a sense of scale to Boston streets; generally, the height was to be no more than 2.5 times the width of the street.
Stellar -- Boston just speced -- a New Ladder to replace all except two of the existing ladder trucks:
100 foot ladder
maximum 82 degree elevation angle -- translating into 78 feet vertical over the base of the ladder or about 84 feet from ground to the top
letting a fireperson rescue someone from a 7th floor window and possibly an 8th floor depending on the construction dimensions of the structure

I think that's why the Fire Code changes right there at 7 stories
 

Life Coach Mike

Active Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
191
Reaction score
228
This illustrates why so many colleges and universities chose to have themed architecture, eg B.C., Harvard, Duke, Northeastern, among many others. With a critical mass of the "theme", other building don't stand out quite as much and offer a less jarring experience for the eye. B.C. in some ways has gone to the extreme, whereas even Harvard has permitted 'star-chitects' to offer their own period pieces. But MIT, which started out with a classical central campus, and later included some really beautiful examples of modern (eg the chapel and Kreske auditorium "dyptich") has gone astray. Granted the ungainly industrial look at MIT, (that BU still has to deal with along side streets) needed attention. But this? Maybe someone will come along and paint the brick and add awnings to the windows...or something.
 

RandomWalk

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
1,203
Reaction score
580
Warehouse the brains, in loco parentes, before they ship off to Silly Valley and a generic apartment to warehouse their brain for a unicorn, also in loco parentes...
 

Bananarama

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
370
Reaction score
597
Maybe someone will come along and paint the brick and add awnings to the windows...or something.
I think the south face along Vassar will get some awnings? Not sure what those vertical rails are above the windows. They're not present on the north, so sun shading makes sense.
EDIT: Within a minute of posting this... went back to page one... yes, there will be awnings along the south:
MIT_VassarDormRendering_V01_003cc.jpg

I find the massing and red-white brick quite nice. No doubt it could age pretty poorly...
 

nm88

Active Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
527
Reaction score
112
I understand why this may not be to everyone's liking, but I still kind of like it. I think the awnings will help. And my joke still stands - "My kid's doing a four year stretch at MIT."
 

Top