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February 6, 2004 02:57 AM

Broken: Modernist architecture

Architectural critic James Howard Kunstler lets fly some blunt words against modernist (and other) architecture in his Eyesore of the Month. Be sure to click Previous Month at the bottom of each page.

Pictured at right is Simmons Hall, MIT's newest dorm. Some MIT students call it the "Space Waffle," and apparently the architecture is so precious that students aren't allowed to move furniture around - furniture is actually bolted to the floor. Who's being served here?

Jim Kunstler, by the way, spoke at last year's Gel conference - see the recap page for a transcript of his talk. (This year's Gel conference is coming up soon, on April 30 in New York City.)


Hah.. someone please tell me this is just one of those MIT pranks?

Posted by: Shane at February 6, 2004 01:12 PM

James Howard Kunstler for President. Seriously; passages from his book, The Geography of Nowhere, echo in my head every time I spend two boring hoursstuck in suburban traffic trying to accomplish chores that, in a functional city, would take half as long, would be accompanied by all the benefits of walking, and would be interesting because I would be seeing things besides roads and cars.

That book should be on everyone's shelf next to The Life and Death of Great American Cities and Fast Food Nation as thesum total of why Americans drive SUVs to McDonald's across miles of highways to their McMansions.

Posted by: Laurie Kalmanson at February 7, 2004 06:12 PM

Well, given that this is an MIT dorm, I doubt the furniture will stay bolted down for very long...

This new dorm is actually the second example of an MIT dorm where the students weren't allowed to switch around the furniture. The will and design of the architect was held in better favor than the overall comfort of the students. Bah.

On the other hand, generation after generation of very influential people will be trained to think "Hey, this Holl is a pain in the ass, architecture should be made to serve the user."

Posted by: Anca at February 8, 2004 08:05 PM

Look at it a bit sideways... Could the architect's name have been JOE?

Posted by: Pete Stevens at February 10, 2004 10:11 AM

The bolted-down furniture has nothing to do with the architecture; it has to do with the fact that it's a STUDENT DORM. The furnishings would eventually get stolen if not bolted down (hello- they're college students).

Posted by: Chris S. at February 19, 2004 07:17 PM

I agree, students steal everything. I have heard that even the silverware is being stolen because it is beautifully designed. I recently toured this building and I would have to say its the most beautiful contemporary architecture I have ever seen.

Posted by: Chris C. at February 27, 2004 04:39 PM

Or, shesnailie, Perhaps you need to stop lying about your connection speed and get a faster one. The pictures loaded fine on my cable hookup.

Posted by: Boop at June 12, 2004 09:00 PM

The List center is far more entertaining, especially if you put yourslef in the place of the parents who sold the farm to put there kid into MIT only to have them produce a piece of "modern 'art'". What a lie.

Posted by: Sido at September 6, 2005 09:44 PM

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