Friday, August 15, 2014

Simmons Hall at MIT

If you see Boston city from the Prudential sky deck you will experience virtually all the buildings with exposed brick, keeping the monotony. Of course, there are high-rise buildings in downtown Boston. The neighborhood on the south east side is beautiful and has a mixture of all architectural styles specifically on Tremont Street.

On the Cambridge side if you observe carefully on the west side you can see a white colored perforated sponge like structure, Simmons Hall, designed by renowned architect Steven Holl. The main idea of the design was that the building would metaphorically work as a sponge. It would take light and in some cases air through its porous structure and allow major interactive spaces for students, a natural source of light.

When you enter the building you can see the lobby, which delivers an organic shaped stairways, completely different from the outer geometry of the building. There is a long passage which runs along the stairways, which takes you towards the elevator. All the rooms are on the upper floors. Passage of the upper floor is lined by wavy walls.There are some punctures in the walls of the passage from where you can see an interactive space for students. The most interesting part in the building is this interactive space. It has a skylight and you can see it from every alternate floor. Space is organic shaped and almost feels like the light is arriving from the summit in a cave. The interior design was complimenting the overall design of the building. Each room has nine operable windows and 18 inch wall depth allows low angled winter sun to warm up and allow the rooms to stay shaded and cool in warm months.

Main entrance of Simmons Hall
Organic shaped stairways

Wavy walls of the passage

Interactive space for students

Skylight in the interactive space

Operable windows

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