Construction

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[ articles from The Tech about the construction of Building W7 go here ]

 


 

http://tech.mit.edu/V66/PDF/N7.pdf
FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 1946

Reconversion

Under the guidance of Alvar Aalto, distinguished Finnish architect recently returned to Technology, plans are being-made for a 300-student dormitory, on the west side of Massachusetts Avenue facing the river, to be operated as a Senior House with its own dining and recreational facilities. This should be ready for occupancy by the fall of 1947.

 

 

campus-future

 

 


 

 

http://tech.mit.edu/V66/PDF/N20.pdf 

OCTOBER 8, 1946

PRESIDENT COMPTON'S REPORT

New Dormitory Senior House

Institute to Assist Veteran's Activities

In a professional school such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, first consideration must be given to the excellence of its education and research. Concentration on this prime objective does not, however, diminish the importance of providing an extracurricular environment conducive to the development of those student attitudes and traits of personality which are so important to a well-rounded, successful, and happy member of society. Our institution needs very much to give increased attention to these matters.

The decision of the Corporation Executive and Finance committees to build a new dormitory is an important move in this direction. Designed by the distinguished Finnish architect and professor at the Institute, Alvar Aalto, the new dormitory will be a senior house and will have novel features for efficient living and for cultural and social intercourse among students. As in the library, which will in itself multiply our opportunities for student extracurricular development, we seek in this new housing unit not to repeat old forms but to move forward with new and more efficient concepts of student housing.

 

 


 

 

http://tech.mit.edu/V67/PDF/N20.pdf

OCTOBER 10, 1947

BREAK GROUND FOR NEW DORM

353-Man Unit To Be Ready By Fall 1948

$500,000 Gift Made By Alumni Association At Ceremony Monday

Ground was broken for the new Senior House last Monday at 12:00 noon by President Karl T. Compton. Dean Everett M. Baker presided at the ceremony.

Speeches were made by Dr. Compton, who pointed out the value of gracious living; Dean Baker and Raymond H. Blanchard, president of the Alumni Association, which presented the Institute with a grant of $500,000 from the alumni fund to start construction on the new dormitory.

Also present were Donald F. Carpenter, head of the Corporation Committee on Student Activity; Leicester F. Hamilton, chairman of the Dormitory Board; George K. Parmelee, '48; president of the Institute Committee, and Donal L. Botway, chairman of the Dormitory Committee.

The dormitory, which represents a wholly new departure in design for student. living, will occupy a site on Memorial Drive, a short distance west of Massachusetts Avenue within short distance of the main buildings and athletic facilities. It is expected to be ready for occupancy at the opening of the fall term next year.

The new building was designed by the distinguished Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, research professor of architecture in the Institute's School of Architecture and Planning, and the firm of Perry, Shaw and Hepburn are the supervising architects. The Aberthaw Company is the contractor.

To Hold 353 Students

The building will accommodate 353 students and will be six stories high. It will contain complete living facilities with a lounge, dining room, music room, living room and hobby room on the first floor. On this floor are arranged the principal lounge, the balcony of the dining room, which is a portion of the lounge space, offices, the director's suite and typical students' rooms.

The second floor and those above are all typical in their arrangement of students' rooms, having almost all individual rooms on the south or river side, and collective living rooms on the north side. In order to have as many rooms as possible face the river, the plan has been arranged as a combination zig-zag and serpentine form which provides a maximum southerly perimeter. Corridors, stairways, wash and bathing facilities, and general living room areas have been provided on the north side of the building overlooking the Institute's playing fields.

1, 2 & 3 Man Suites Available

On a typical floor the rooms are divided into several groups. Certain groups of rooms provide for three students each, other groups provide for two students each, and there are large numbers of single rooms.

A single room will provide each man with a built-in desk, bookshelves, couch, a wardrobe, lavatory and bed. All the furniture. with the exception of the chair, is especially designed for the room and is built in, of light blond hardwood contrasting with the red color of the tile walls. Acoustic ceilings and asphalt floors soften the room and add to its general appearance.

A double room will be an enlargement of the facilities provided by these single rooms; a room housing three men provides the same facilities and in addition has a living space devoted principally to the use of the three men. Outside the student rooms and occurring generally as an enlargement of the corridor are living areas which will be attractively furnished with living room furniture, providing a space where general discussions can be carried on without interference with study in the individual rooms.

Modern Dining Room

The dining room on the ground floor will be provided with its own sunken garden and a view of the river, with two sides free-standing from the building. The balcony around this dining room at the first floor level makes an extension of the main lounge. The dining room is lighted by numerous round skylights especially designed for this room which will provide a downlight both by day and, with the use of artificial illumination, by night. The latest in kitchen equipment will be provided to serve this dining room and its terraces.

One of the most interesting features of the building is the long cantilevered stairs which hangs from the north wall, allowing the students continuous travel by easy stages to each of the six floors. The building is also provided with an elevator and other stairways of more conventional type. The outside of the building is to be built of a red brick to harmonize with the other buildings along this portion of Memorial Drive. A tubular trellis will support wisteria over certain portions of the river side of the building, and over the roof of the dining room, where low-growing ivy will cover the flat roof.

 

 


 

http://tech.mit.edu/V67/PDF/N34.pdf

Friday, December 19, 1947

Reporter Visits Senior House; Completion Promised on Schedule

By Jack Sevier

Your roving reporter paid a visit this week to the new Senior House project on Memorial Drive, where he was received by Charles Potter, supervisor of the construction. Trudging through more mud than was used for the "Boom Town" set, the reporter made his way down to the level which will soon be the basement and introduced himself to Mr. Potter, who seemed to be more than willing to answer questions for The Tech.

When asked whether the building was progressing according to schedule, Mr. Potter replied, "Yes, everything is running smoothly. The Senior House should be completed by October 1 of next year." He went on to explain that the caissons, the concrete-filled forms which make up the lower part of the foundation, should be completed by next week.

About 180 of these caissons were needed for the foundation, and it was necessary to lay them at the "zero" level, about 20 feet below ground level. According to Mr. Potter, the laying of the caissons is the hardest job, and after their completion, the construction should progress more steadily.

Thanks to the new steam boiler which will be used for thawing out the ground, the work will be able to continue through the cold winter months. and the pouring of the concrete for the six-story structure should be completed by March 30. At that time the red, New Hampshire brick exterior will be begun.

The final design of the Senior House is not yet completed, since Alvar H. H. Aalto, the renowned Finnish architect, is still making various changes and modifications in the building.

Mr. Potter says, "It is the most interesting and certainly the most unusual building on which I have ever worked. The squat W-shaped structure seems to be making itself known in· the world of architecture also, since an article appeared recently in the 'Architect's Review' concerning its unique design and its even more unique designer."

The supervisor took the reporter into his office and revealed a maze of blueprints and charts concerning the building. The spacious dining room, dropping off at the second story, features a rather unusual skylight effect, while the stairway design illustrates another unusual trait of the building. Instead of following the conventional zig-zag pattern, the stairway will begin at one end of the building and ascend in a straight line to the sixth floor. Looking over the blueprint of the basement, Mr. Potter pointed out the various playrooms, hobbyrooms, and lounges which should keep next year's occupants in a happy mood. The upper floor plans showed that practically every one of the bedrooms overlooked the Charles River — a feature made possible by the W-shaped design.

 


 

http://tech.mit.edu/V68/PDF/N22.pdf

Friday, April 23, 1948

Steel Deliveries Place New Dorm Behind Schedule

Last week, your roving reporter and one of his journalistic colleagues wandered across the athletic field after classes and entered the shack of Charles Potter, supervisor of our new senior house project. Because of what seemed to be an engineer's consultation, Mr. Potter wasn't able to see us immediately, so we wandered around outside, trying not to get in the way of progress.

The workers out "on the job" seemed to be more than willing to answer questions for The Tech, or maybe they were just anxious to take a break, but, at any rate, we soon learned that they had recently completed the concrete pouring from the 100 foot high platforms. Now that the concrete pouring is completed, the building should begin to shape up, and we should be able to notice more progress in the structure.

Leaving the concrete men, we proceeded to the east end of our fledgling dormitory where we intercepted another group of workers in the man on the street fashion. These men informed us that they were from the utilities companies (no, they hadn't come to collect the light bill), and before we arrived they had been busy installing the power and water lines. Not wishing to delay the new building, we allowed the men to continue their work, and started back to the supervisor's shack.

Having finished his business, Mr. Potter invited us into his office where the first question I asked was, "Will the senior house be completed on schedule?"

In answer to this question, Mr. Potter showed us a copy of his latest production schedule, which indicated that the work was almost two months, behind. Until recently, the delay was caused chiefly by the severe winter we've had, since tile workers were unable to work outside during the frequent snowy and windy days.

"However," said Potter, "when John L. Lewis called the recent coal strike, matters became more complicated. The net result of the strike was that steel deliveries were late, and consequently we got behind schedule. Nevertheless, the construction is coming along fairly well now, and we should be able to have the dormitory ready for you fellows sometime in December."

Not wishing to disillusion Mr. Potter by the fact that "you fellows" didn't include freshmen like ourselves, we went on to the next question. Since there had been some difference in opinion as to how many men the new dorm would house, we asked the supervisor to enlighten us on the issue.

"At first," said Mr. Potter, "the plans called for a library on the west end of the building, and at that time the dorm was to house about 275 men. Later, however, the original plans were changed, the library was discontinued, the west end was widened, and the net result was that the dorm was able to house an additional 74 men. Now the capacity is approximately 350."

If good weather continues, according to Mr. Potter, the framework should be finished soon, and the exterior work, such as the bricklaying, should begin sometime in May.

 


 

Building Marks Post-War Tech
Millions Spent On Facilities

Concrete columns two stories above the ground floor begin to show the outline of the rooms in the new Senior house which is planned to be ready for occupancy by the middle of the fall term.

 

 

http://tech.mit.edu/V68/PDF/N28.pdf

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 1948

New Dorm Delayed

By John R. Sevier

Alterations Delay Senior House

Continuing our tour, we made our way across Briggs Field to the Senior House project, where our host this time was a Mr. Underhill, one of the foremen on the project. As usual, the big question was, "When will the Senior House be completed?" The latest production schedule says December 1, 1948.

According to Underhill, the steel production delayed the structure. Previously changes in the original plans had caused delays. The main alteration was the change from a four-story structure to a six-story structure, necessitating a change in the amount of concrete going into the foundation.

Brick Work Commences

At present the concrete pouring is the big job. The columns and sides of the fourth floor are now being poured, and a small amount of bricklaying has started on the front of the building. Soon the bricklayers will go all out for their job, and when the concrete men have reached the roof with their pouring about the middle of June, the bricklayers will have reached the second story.

 

 

http://tech.mit.edu/V68/PDF/N30.pdf
Friday, May 21, 1948

Senior House Delayed

The senior house, which was held up by weather and labor conditions, will be finished in time for the spring term, 1949, but there will be some unavoidable crowding in the fal] term, '48.

 


 

 

http://tech.mit.edu/V68/PDF/N39.pdf
Friday, October 29, 1948

Speaking of senior houses, there is a noticeable undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the plans that have been announced for the operation of the new Senior House. The antagonism to which we refer does not concern itself at all with the design of the building but rather with the possibilities that the dining-in feature might be ill run and that rents may be higher than in the old dorms.

 

 


 

http://tech.mit.edu/V68/PDF/N47.pdf

Friday, December 3, 1948

Professor Hamilton of the Dorm Board is our choice for The New Yorker's clouded crystal ball department.

Some time ago, if our memory serves aright, he ventured the opinion that the new Senior House would be ready for occupation by last October. When that fell through, he said that it would surely be finished by this February.

The latest word we hear is that some of the visitors at the April convocation may get to stay there.

 

 


 

http://tech.mit.edu/V69/PDF/N3.pdf

FRIDAY, JAN. 14, 1949

Interior Work On Senior House Under Way; Top Floor Rooms Near Completion As Term Ends

Basement Flooded As Faulty Joint Looses Torrent

Work on the interior of the new Technology Senior House is well under way, with plasterers and carpenters working throughout the building. Proceeding from the top floors down, the finishing work will take several months to complete.

Although there are no finished suites as yet, the ceilings of the fourth and fifth floors have been plastered and door jambs have been placed. A few of the rooms contain units of the built-in furniture that they will have when completed, including drawers and tables. (See cut.)

Floors Mostly Cement

Lavatories have been installed, and some of the shower rooms have been tiled, but there are still no electrical fixtures to be seen. A walk through the halls of the new integral sign shaped building discloses most of the flooring as cement, although a few of the wedge-shaped rooms have floors of an asphalt material.

Floor laying and plastering is still in progress on the lower floors of the building, and interior finishing of the basement and foyer has not yet been started.

Basement Flood

Some trouble in construction was encountered last Wednesday night when a poorly soldered pipe joint in the basement let go, and water under from 60 to 80 pounds pressure cascaded onto the floor. Before alert maintenance men could locate the main shut-off valve, the water was from two to four inches deep over the basement.

Although the flood thoroughly wet everything on the floor, no extensive damage was reported, and the water was rapidly drained with a pump. No construction hitch is anticipated, although there may be a slight delay while the pipe is re-soldered.

 

 


 

http://tech.mit.edu/V69/PDF/N14.pdf

FRIDAY, MAR. 18, 1949

Compulsory Meal System
Planned In Senior House

Beginning immediately after Spring vacation, on April 4, 5 and 6, the new Senior House will be open for inspection by the student body from noon until 5:00 P.M. Since the new dorm will be used to house convocation guests, it will be nearly complete by this time.

New Meal System

One feature of the new dorm, unusual at Technology, will be the meal plan. Students will be required to pay for fifteen meals per week, and the cost of this dining service will be $10 per week. No meals will be served by the dining service on weekends, but a snack bar will be operated in the evenings and also on weekends. Of course, the snack bar will cost extra.

The barracks dormitory will be open again next September, but limited in occupancy to 250 men. Rent in the barracks will still be $85 per term while rent in the new Senior House and in the permanent dormitories has not been definitely fixed as yet for next term. The fall term will be a twenty week term, because of the fact that school will start one week earlier in September.

Same Rent for all Rooms

It was announced by Professor Hamilton, Chairman of the Dormitory Board, that each of the rooms in the new Senior House would cost the same price per man, regardless of the fact that it was a single, double or even larger room. The reason being that the rooms in the new dormitory were built as doubles or triples, whereas the old dormitory doubles and triples are in reality, crowding more men into each room.

Dial Phones

In addition there will be a dial phone in each room of the new dormitory, capable of reaching Institute points such as the dorms or barracks, as well as local rooms. Rent schedules for the new Senior House will be announced in The Tech soon after the Convocation.

 

 

 

http://tech.mit.edu/V69/PDF/N15.pdf

TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 1949

HIGH COST OF LIVING

Prices of rooms at the New Senior House will not be released until after the convocation, but there is still much that can be said, or at least guessed, about these rents. Two factors are of primary importance in determining the rates, the cost of running the establishment and the return the Institute expects an its investment. The first factor is essentially fixed by the services rendered to the residents, and the second, is determined by the executive committee of the Corporation. Financing of the dormitories at Technology is done under a plan that is somewhat unusual in that the cost of the original construction is not depreciated over a period of years. Instead, a three percent return on the original investment is expected yearly as long as the dormitories are in existence (the Dormitories have never earned the full three percent expected of them.) This means, of course, that the buildings are expected to last a good long time, certainly over 100 years. If the present dormitories had yielded the expected return, they would pay for themselves in interest in about thirty years and only after that time would the Institute begin to realize a profit on the investment.

Funds for construction of the New Senior House come from two sources. Half a million dollars was donated by the alumni, and $1.7 million came out of the general investment funds of the Institute. At this time we do not know whether the executive committee will charge interest for the whole amount or just the money appropriated from the Institute itself; three percent on just the $1.7 million, however, comes to a bit over $50 thousand a year. To show that the interest charge comes to a good deal more than chicken feed, divide the $50 thousand by 700 man-terms per year (approximately the capacity of the building times two terms per year, not counting the summer). The result is over $70 per man per term, or a really good, whopping sum. Of course, these figures are crude. The executive committee may charge less than three percent, or charge interest on the total cost of $2.2 million, rather than the $1.7 million we used, or spread, the cost over three terms' occupancy in-stead of two per year.

Naturally, another limitation on how much the rates will be is how much the students can afford to pay. In discussing a rumored $200 per term charge (by no means any inside dope), many students have expressed unwillingness to pay that much for accommodations. Actually, the upper limit on the possible rents will probably be set by the students rather than the executive committee. This situation may mean that, faced by high costs and a sizeable interest charge, the Dormitory Board may be forced to trim their New Senior House rents at the expense of the Old Dormitory rents. If this in turn be so, there will be a heavy demand for New Senior House accommodations from present Dormitory residents.

There has been some sentiment expressed against the high degree of luxury built into the New Senior House. It has been properly argued that had the new accommodations been closer to minimum standards, the rentals would have been more in line with the students' ability to pay. Looking at the building as one that will have to stand for at least a century or two, however, it is easier to see why it has had extras built into it. When, in the distant future, undergraduate life has moved to the West campus, the New Senior House will be the oldest dormitory there. It will have to vie with more modern buildings for student's patronage; it has been built to last the centuries.

We don't know how the executive committee and the Dormitory Board will solve the difficult financial problem of New Senior House rents, but this relatively minor problem represents just one of the adjustments being made in our twentieth century economy. Colleges, and other endowed institutions, will have to face similar quandaries as long as the nation continues its trend towards fewer poor people and fewer rich ones.

 

 

http://tech.mit.edu/V69/PDF/N17.pdf

Tuesday, April 5, 1949

Construction Projects Reflect New Program Of Development In and Around Institute Grounds

With four major additions to the Institute campus under construction at the present time, Technology's program of expansion and development is well under way.

The new Senior House is virtually complete, finished just in time to house some of Technology's Convocation guests. It will be open for inspection by the student body for the first time from Monday, April 4, till Wednesday, April 6, from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m.

A view of the nearly completed Senior Dormitory from Memorial Drive, scheduled to be occupied by Technology students this fall. The building housed some of the Institute's guests at the Mid-Century Convocation on the Social Implications of Scientific Progress.

 


 

 

http://tech.mit.edu/V69/PDF/N20.pdf

FRIDAY, APR. 15, 1949

SENIOR HOUSE RENT $180
Rent Hiked $5, Service Slashed In Other Dorms

Beginning in the fall term of this year, the new Senior House on Memorial Drive will be made available to all male undergraduate students. Rent in this newest and most modem of Technology's living units will be at a flat rate of $180 for room and $170 for board per man, per term. The fall term will cover a period of twenty weeks, from September 14 to January 31.

Meals, which are compulsory as far as payment is concerned, will be served three times a day, five days a week. Saturdays and Sundays, in addition to the weeks during Christmas, vacation and midyear vacation are excluded from the meal schedule.

Rent Increased; Service Reduced

Due to increased costs, as well as to changes in the Institute calendar, rent in all of the older dormitories has been increased $5 per occupant, per term. In addition to the increase, it has been decided that dormitory service will be reduced. Porters will no longer make up the beds each day, but will do so with clean linen once a week.

The new housing unit, which has been known about the Institute as the "new senior house," has now been designated by the Dormitory Board as the "New Dormitory." It will be open to all registered undergraduate students, but members of the class of 1950 will be given preference. The unit will be managed by Mr. Gordon Watson, who at present manages Building 22.

 

 

 

http://tech.mit.edu/V69/PDF/N22.pdf

FRIDAY, APR. 22, 1949

The New Dormitory

Having been just lately completed, and offering a pretty controversial building in any sense, we were particularly interested in finding out what his opinion on the New Dormitory (formerly the New Senior House) was, though. "A noble building," said the Dean, "one which uses the site to best possible advantage." The varied shaped rooms in particular destroy the cell-like effect common to that type of interior." The Cafeteria pavillion in front of the building Dean Wurster described as a "Romantic and nice episode." As too how the concrete pavillion would look in contrast to the burned brick finish of the main building, he explained that they would complement each other through the contrast, the pavillion setting off the building above it.

Alvar Aalto, the designer of the building, particularly wished to avoid "Drug store architecture," i.e.: a slick, smooth exterior finish, in the structure, Dean Wurster further explained. Thus the occasionally projecting bricks, and the rough surface of the brick would provide an interesting play of light and shadow to-relieve the monotony of the surface. The lighting had also been carefully taken into consideration in the designing of the pavillion, according to the Dean. Here, the port-hole like structures on the roof would provide a flood of illumination without exposing the room to the direct sun; the dining zoom would actually appear to be "floating in light."

Beetle Traps?

Each port-hole is to have a light over it to provide illumination in the dining room' at night, and to illuminate the garden which will be planted on the flat roof of the pavillion. In response to the notion that the lights resembled large Japanese beetle traps, and that the inclusion of one over every port hole would certainly look queer, Dean Wurster pointed out that there was a certain dignity in the repeated form of the lights and the ports that would really produce an interesting rather than a queer effect.

The rooms themselves have been designed to take a maximum of "Use and abuse" said the Dean, and the built-in furniture in particular, because it will not be moved much, will be particularly durable. The tile finish on the interior walls is an essential compromise between utility and good looks.

A Pattern

The New Dormitory, as the first unit of the Institute's long-term Westgate development may set some sort of precedent towards the future buildings. To this idea the dean mentioned that the newer units should certainly seek variety, and try different internal organizations; perhaps smaller more numerous eating places scattered throughout the building, for example. However, some kinship in style would be sought, perhaps simply finishing all the buildings in the same kind of brick. Nevertheless, Professor Anderson pointed out, no architect likes to be kept from doing as good a job as he can by having to follow preconceived convention of style.

 

 


 

http://tech.mit.edu/V69/PDF/N35.pdf

TUESDAY, OCT. 4, 1949

Residents Find New Dormitory
Clean, Bright And Liveable

By FRED VANDERSCHMIDT

The New Dormitory, even in the process of construction, raised a singular interest in the world of architecture as well as among Technology undergraduates, and the question now is, naturally enough, "How has it turned out?" Of course, there are as many specific answers to this question as there are people living in the building, but nevertheless, there is a certain amount of agreement.

The general opinion is good. In fact, one might almost say ecstatic. As one resident, who had lived for two years in the barracks before coming to the new house, said, "I can hardly believe I'm living here." Others, whose previous two or three years had been spent in the "old" dormitories had pointed comparisons to make.

Red Tile Walls

One ex-old dorm man, for instance, was particularly. taken with the brick-red tile used as an interior finish. The gist of his remarks was that there was considerable difference in waking up in a room where warm red tile diffused a pleasant, textured light through the room to seeing that "ghastly green paint, hundreds of coats thick, and bisected by that hideous band of warped wood." We rather think his comparison exaggerated, but the pleasantness of the tile, particularly in its contrast with the white painted cement portions of the wall, cannot be denied.

Others were impressed by the clean, bright linoleum covered floors, still others by that marvelous staircase which makes climbing to the sixth floor almost as easy as taking the elevator. Practically a universal comment was that although the physical dimensions of the new rooms are smaller than those in the old dormitories, the careful planning of the new rooms has. made them far more liveable.

Fine Furniture

In particular, the marvelous furniture (the most remarkable pieces were made in Sweden) has given this impression. It is certainly some of the most practical and handsome stuff that has ever been produced. Much of the design was accomplished by Alvar H. H. Aalto himself. In general, an a[t]mosphere full of clean light and air prevails in the rooms and in the halls too, remarkably enough, and everywhere, instead of a hodge-podge of poorly designed, poorly built furniture that would not fit in a jail cell, there is beauty, taste and refinement.

One of the most controversial of the questions which the new dormitory raised was the new boarding system, whereby each resident pays two dollars a day for five days of food a week. Those who expected Walker-like food or meagre portions were pleasantly surprised; the food so far has been appetizing, well prepared, and immaculately served in the spotless pavilion cafeteria. Residents have found that they get more than two dollars worth of food, by Walker standards, and consider the meals a bargain. A number of non-residents, in fact, have taken advantage of the cafeteria's pay-for-meals system.

Sole Complaint

About the only widely expressed complaint to be voiced about the new dormitory is no fault of the architect, but of the Institute's renting system. The building was designed to include two different levels of rental, but this was later reduced to one (evidently in an effort to keep the higher rentals from being prohibitive.) This has given some people much smaller rooms than others, with neither the couch, roomy book shelves or large

desks of the larger rooms. In particular, there are five small rooms in the back of the building, each with a distinctly unfortunate re-entrant view into the adjoining hospital, and none of which, with the possible exception of the top one, get any direct sunlight during any part of the day. Yet these people pay exactly the same rent as the rest; a somewhat lamentable situation, we think.

Aalto Designed

All-in-all, however, the building is a beautiful and inspiring one, not only to the architects who appraise it from the exterior, and those who live in it, but even the ones in the back room.

 


 
http://tech.mit.edu/V72/PDF/N30.pdf
Friday, October 3, 1952
 
To the Editor of THE TECH:
 
The Institute is at present undertaking a gigantic $15,000 renovation of the Master Suite Lounge in Baker House. It has acquired some fine architects in the firm of Anderson & Beckwith and is pushing the project to rapid completion. Also, under construction is an adjacent music room.
 
This, on first glance, looks like a very noble gesture to the students there but this observer was able to glance at the plans and despite subsequent discussions with the administration still questions whether the room is being renovated in accord with student desire.
 
The Master Suite Lounge is a room which is located on the extreme eastern end of the New Dorm away from the general living quarters of the House. Its area and fireplace commend it as an ideal room for small informal parties and has been used almost exclusively as such in the past. Each weekend, and occasionally on a weekday afternoon, it is reserved, not only by Baker House residents, but also by other activities, like AICHE, for dances and beer parties. It has also been the scene of the very fine dance program of instruction sponsored by the Dormitory Social Committee.
 
The room is at the present time, however, extremely cold. Asbestos covered pipe against a bare brick wall greet any entrant and no permanent furniture exists. In short, it lacks convenience and warmth.
 
The Baker House Committee was slow in working up anything to ameliorate the situation. but last spring it finally came up with some plans. These envisaged running water, a bar for selling refreshments, a cabinet for the glasses, a refrigerator cabinet for storage, an enclosed portion for a piano and drapes and paintings to cover the pipes and walls. These plans called for a now seemingly modest $3,000. They were conceived by a Course IV student after much resident participant discussion.
 
How this student conception compares with what the Institute is about to do is difficult to comprehend. But Anderson & Beckwith will now proceed to turn this 'back' room into of all things "a sitting room." Full length carpeting, massive leather divans, tables, and luxurious chairs will now grace the heretofore party room. The parties, dancing, social programs seemingly have not made inroads on the thinking of the Institute stalwarts. The Institute has long prided itself on maximum student participation in formulating and accomplishing its goals. This is not a good example. What happened to the student plan is anybody's guess, there being no mention made of most of its features.
 
What with the M.I.T. social calendar looking so bare this term it is difficult to figure how or where students are to gather these days for good college fun.
 
Edward Facey '52
 

 
Lawrence S. Bacow, Chancellor
December 8, 1999
 
Amended Final Report of the Residence System Steering Committee,
as presented to Chancellor Bacow on October 6, 1999
 
 
In the years 1946-51 the acute need for additional bed space implicitly transformed MIT to a residential university with the construction of Baker House in 1949 and the acquisition of Burton-Conner in 1951. MITís responsibilities beyond the provision of additional shelter were recognized at that time by Dr. James R. Killian, Jr., who was quoted in the dedication program for Baker House:
 
"...We want to develop an environment at MIT which performs in the broadest sense an education-al function itself, not in a passive way but in a dynamic way. The whole complex of living condi-tions, activities, and atmosphere must be skillful-ly arranged to provide the kind of environment that contributes to the development of leadership, breadth, and standards of taste and judgment among our students."
 
 

Random Pictures

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