Eyesore of the Month

February 2004


     The new Simmons Hall dormitory at MIT, Cambridge, Mass, by architect Stephen Holl. It's a perfect metaphor for an institution saturated in the cult of techgnosis, a building-as-pure-diagram. Note that there isn't a single line that is not absolutely straight, meaning Holl has managed to expunge every last hint of the sensual, the decorative, and the female. It actually looks a bit like a computer chip standing on edge.  My favorite touch, though, is the strip of parking on the apron in front of the facade, just to remind us who MIT really serves.
     Strange to relate, some of the rooms inside have no straight lines at all. The one depicted below is a sort of concrete womb nightmare. It also reminds me of the dungeon that the Count of Monte Cristo was left to rot in, except he wasn't allowed to have such cutting edge furniture.

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Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 James Howard Kunstler