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Photographer's Note

Eero Saarinen

Alvar Aalto is not the only famous Finnish architect who has made designs for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the center of the campus we find two buildings designed by Eero Saarinen: the Kresge Auditorium and the MIT Chapel.

Eero is the son of another famous Finnish architect: Eliel Saarinen, among others the architect of the famous railway station in Helsinki.
In 1923 the Saarinen family emigrated to the USA. Eero became in 1940 a naturalized citizen of the USA.
His best known designs include the Washington Dulles International Airport, TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

The two buildings on the MIT campus are early works that were realized in 1955-56.
Kresge Auditorium (MIT Building W16) and the MIT Chapel
Saarinen designed Kresge Auditorium with his nearby MIT Chapel in tandem. The two buildings are separated by a green space called the "Kresge Oval". Also designed by Saarinen.
The two buildings are recognized among the best examples of mid-century modern architecture in the United States.

The Kresge auditorium is a fascinating and elegant interplay between the thin-shell structure of reinforced concrete of the roof and the glass curtain walls of the three facades. Thin-shelled concrete technology was innovative for the times; the dome is proportionately thinner than an eggshell.

The MIT Chapel is a non-denominational chapel. The chapel exterior consists of a plain brick cylinder, with an aluminium bell tower by sculptor Theodore Roszak. The building is encircled by a shallow moat, that defines it as an “island of serenity”. Reflections from the water bounce up into the interior of the chapel through hidden windows.

■ Picture 1: ◄ Kresge auditorium ►


■ Picture 2: ◄ View of the south facade►


■ Picture 3: ◄ MIT Chapel ►


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Additional Photos by Rob Zwemmer (alvaraalto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5315 W: 324 N: 9766] (38308)
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