Met Warehouse renovation planning takes an exciting next step

Photo: Bryce Vickmark

Photo: Bryce Vickmark

NOTE: This article is excerpted from an article on MIT News. Read the original here.

MIT’s campus is like a living organism, as changing programmatic needs and new opportunities make for a vibrantly evolving landscape.

One exciting new feature of this condition is the adaptive reuse of the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street. The massive brick structure was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is of high historic significance for its architecture and its association with the history and development of the City of Cambridge.

Plans are now under way to renovate this building to serve as a new home for the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) and a campus-wide makerspace run by Project Manus. And, after an in-depth community-driven search and selection process, an architect has now been selected to lead the project.

The next chapter of SA+P history

The reenvisioned structure will create a hub for design research and education, allowing the school to expand its range of activities and offering benefits to the Institute community. The ground floor will be dedicated to the campus’s largest makerspace open to all of MIT, overseen by Project Manus, and an auditorium, galleries, and convening spaces.

The proposed renovations would preserve the structure’s distinctive external features and create 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art interior spaces including classrooms, studios, workshops, galleries, and an auditorium. 

The innovative project has garnered early financial support from SA+P alumni and others with an interest in the next chapter in the history of MIT and the school, which this year is celebrating 150 years of architecture education at MIT.   

“The project will be a confluence of concepts related to adaptive renewal, environmental responsiveness as exemplary of approaches to climate change, and progressive ideas about the architecture of design pedagogy and research,” says Andrew Scott, interim head of the Department of Architecture.

The architecture firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) has been tapped to lead the redesign. Founded in 1981, DS+R is a design studio whose practice spans the fields of architecture, urban design, installation art, multimedia performance, digital media, and print. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities. The studio is based in New York and is comprised of over 100 architects, designers, artists, and researchers, led by four partners — Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro, and Benjamin Gilmartin.

Among DS+R’s many recognized projects are the High Line in New York City and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. 

“A project of this scale and complexity, which demands a design sensibility informed by both art and technology — along with a deep understanding of architecture education as well as the role of public space — is made for a firm like DS+R,” says Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.

DS+R will work with local partner Leers Weinzapfel Associates, an architecture and urban design firm that has won many national design awards and brings added expertise in sustainability and historic building renovation.

150 Years of MIT Architecture: San Francisco Celebration

The celebration of 150 years of MIT Architecture set new records in San Francisco on October 16, 2018. Alumni representing six decades of Course IV graduates joined Interim Department of Architecture Head, Professor Andrew Scott, faculty Sheila Kennedy, Caitlin Mueller and Brandon Crawford, and fellow Danielly Starback, in an evening dedicated to honoring the oldest and best architecture program in the nation. For the fourth year in a row, MIT Architecture has been ranked first in the world by QS World University Rankings for Architecture/Built Environment.

150 San Francisco joins 150 Hong Kong and 150 New York to become the third MIT Architecture 150 celebration, with MITArchA-led 150 celebrations in Detroit and Washington DC. Pamela Chang Sing Tang AIA | NCARB, 150 San Francisco event organizer, MITArchA VP of Programs and California Representative noted, “Building MITArchA One Gathering at a Time is part of the foundational work that has to be done to build the relationships that will grow a vibrant community.” As part of the evening’s slideshow Pamela shared images collected from some of the MITArchA-led gatherings, showing MITArchA’s founding board under President Jacob Kain, and the gatherings that have grown from coffee with one alumna to what it is today.

The Olympic Club near Union Square in downtown San Francisco, founded in 1860, provided a historic and gracious venue for the more than 80 guests coming mainly from the Bay Area and as far away as Santa Monica, California. More than 80% of attendees are Course IV alumni and more than 95% have strong affiliations with MIT Architecture. Sherwood (Woody) Stockwell, an alumnus who attended the first post-war Architecture class at MIT in 1946 sent photographs of his work and a narrative of his time at MIT. As our oldest living Course IV alumnus who built his career in the Bay Area, Woody’s enthusiasm underscores the significance our gathering holds in the hearts and minds of local alumni.

Front and center that evening were two concurrent Slideshows showcasing the Photographic History of 150 years of MIT Architecture and Course IV Alumni Work in the Bay Area.

Rarely seen precious images that document the evolution of the Department of Architecture from its founding mission “to insure that the Architecture of the future shall be worthy of the future”, through its innovative experiments in pedagogy, its world-renowned resident and visiting faculty roster, its prominent place on the MIT campus, and its strong roots in an Institute of Technology . Generations of students continue to be attracted by the technical program where “the application of Science to the Useful Arts” provided the basis for the first Architecture course. Designing the future harnesses an education that integrates knowledge of cutting edge technological tools with empathy for sound design principles founded on the science of building, an understanding of place and culture, and the analysis of architectural precedent.

Course IV Alumni Work in the Bay Area include slide contributions from local alumni. This sample of work from a dozen alumni shows the dynamic range and creativity of work produced – from art mural installations to innovative residential and commercial projects, to prominent high-rises that add to the San Francisco skyline, to high-profile real estate development projects in the Bay Area, to large-scale planning projects that have shaped San Francisco’s downtown and major Bay Area cities. Each of these projects have been mapped into the MITArchA MAP Project, an interactive map designed to help us visualize Course IV alumni’s impact in the Bay Area Built Environment. The MITArchA MAP Project is an initiative started in San Francisco by two MIT alumna, Ellen Lou and Pamela Tang, for Architecture 150.

If you would like to submit your projects to the MITArchA MAP please contact Pamela Tang, pcs83@alum.mit.edu. The MAP Project is ongoing and will be expanded to include other regions.

We have also included photographs that we received of retired MIT faculty and former Heads of the Department of Architecture in the slideshow. While we wish we had planned in advance for this section we deeply appreciate the contributions to date and the need to recognize ALL our faculty as we celebrate this momentous milestone. If you would like to send faculty photographs please contact Pamela Tang, pcs83@alum.mit.edu.

As part of the Speaker Program for the evening, Andrew provided an update on the Department of Architecture, Sheila, Caitlin, and Brandon shared their research interests, and as a newly minted alumna and fellow, Danielly shared some of her student work.

Special guest, Elizabeth Ranieri, FAIA, who recently served as a Presidential Nominee (2012-2016) on the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee for the Department of Architecture joined several alumni speakers which included, Allison Albericci ’MCP ‘12 SMArchS ‘12, Neeraj Bhatia SMArchS ’07, and J. Kenji Lopez Alt ’02 in providing alumni updates on the MIT Course IV experience.

As part of the Architecture 150 milestone, MIT Architecture recognized three alumni in the San Francisco Bay Area for their work in advancing the field of architecture through practice.

Jeffrey Heller ’64 M.Arch ’67, FAIA, was presented the MIT Architecture Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.

William Gilchrist ’82, FAIA, was recognized with the MIT Architecture Alumni Civic Design Award.

Ellen Lou ’85 was awarded the MIT Architecture Alumni Global Leadership Award.

Course IV alumni are artists, philosophers, photographers, chefs, techies, entrepreneurs, engineers, community leaders, civic leaders, firm leaders, industry leaders, project managers, designers, builders, researchers, educators, authors, developers, planners, and architects. Reflecting on the versatility with which we have pursued our passions, Paul Pettigrew, Director Undergraduate Recruitment, Career Development & Alumni Outreach, observed, “It is not surprising. Our MIT education empowered each of us to forge our own path.”

Eric Morris ’14 led the champagne toast for Architecture 150 San Francisco. As one of the youngest alumni classes to join the celebration, Eric’s heartfelt comment summed up MITArchA’s efforts, “We are more than a community . . . It truly feels like we have a family here.”

Hundreds of Course IV alumni around the country and the world have reconnected with each other and with MIT as a result of these gatherings and the work started by MITArchA. The festivities are expected to culminate on campus in Cambridge on April 12-13, 2019 at the Alumni Open House, MIT Museum Architecture 150 Exhibit, and Course IV’s Experiments in Pedagogy Symposium. All are welcome. We hope to see many of you there.


Biographies of Alumni Speakers

Jeffrey Heller ’64, M.Arch ‘67 is President and Founder of Heller Manus Architects. Since its beginning in 1984, the firm has established a reputation for influencing architecture and urban design in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally. Jeffrey is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. On May 18, 2017, Jeffrey Heller was awarded the inaugural MITArchA Alumni Achievement Award. The recently announced Jeffrey D. Heller Fund will provide graduate student financial support, including fellowship support, for students in MIT’s Department of Architecture. Jeffrey’s generous gift is MIT’s first Architecture fellowship given by a practicing architect.

William Gilchrist ’82 is currently Director of the Planning and Building Department for the City of Oakland. Prior, he was Director of Place-Based Planning for the City of New Orleans and Senior Associate at EDAW and Director of the Department of Planning, Engineering, and Permits for Birmingham, AL. William has chaired the AIA Committee of Design Assistance, served as a trustee of the Urban Land Institute, served as chair of the Public Private Partnership Blue Flight for ULI and has served on numerous ULI Panel Advisory Services.

Ellen Lou ‘85 is Director of Urban Design and Planning at the office of SOM. Ellen has directed many world-renowned urban design and planning efforts in the United States and the Pacific Rim countries. Her areas of specialization include urban, brownfield reuse, master plans for new towns and communities, historic revitalization, and campus master plans. She is also active in civic and educational outreach. Ellen has lectured and served as visiting instructor and guest critic for architecture and urban design courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, North Dakota University, California Academy of Arts, and University of California Berkeley.

Allison Albericci MCP ‘12 SMArchS ‘12 - A dedicated proponent of sustainable architecture, Allison is an expert in the design of complex mixed-use and transit-oriented projects in urban areas. As a staff architect for the City and County of San Francisco Planning Department, Allison is responsible for the review of development proposals of all scales and types. Allison was the recipient of the 2018 Young Architects Award.

Neeraj Bhatia SMArchS ‘07 is an architect and urban designer from Toronto, Canada. His work resides at the intersection of politics, infrastructure and urbanism. Neeraj is a co-director of InfraNet Lab, a non-profit research collective probing the spatial byproducts of contemporary resource logistics, and the founder of The Open Workshop, a design office examining the project of plurality. Neeraj is currently an Assistant Professor at The California College of the Arts, where he is co-director of The Urban Works Agency.

J. Kenji Lopez Alt ‘02 is the Chief Culinary Advisor for Serious Eats, author of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab, and partner at Wursthall and Backhaus in San Mateo. His first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking through Science is a New York Times Bestseller, winner of the James Beard Award for General Cooking, and was named Book of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.


Biography of Special Guest

Elizabeth Ranieri is Design Principal of Kuth Ranieri Architects and co-founded the Bay Area firm with her partner, Byron Kuth. Ms. Ranieri recently served as a Presidential Nominee (2012-2016) on the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee for the Department of Architecture. Visiting Committees were established at MIT in 1875, and their recommendations have had a strong influence on the course of education and research at the Institute for over 120 years. Along with her practice, Elizabeth has taught at: the California College of the Arts, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, as a Friedman Professor for the Masters of Architecture program at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. Elizabeth was elevated to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows in 2010.


Event Slideshow:

9/29/2018: 150 Years of MIT Architecture: Detroit Design Tour

On Saturday September 29, 2018, a perfect fall afternoon—brisk and bright—embraced the 25-plus participants who registered for the Detroit Design Tour. The event, jointly sponsored by MITArchA and the MIT Club of Southeasst Michigan was organized to celebrate the 150th anniversary of MIT Architecture during Detroit’s annual “Month of Design”.  Three Course IV alumni tour guides, Robert Ziegelman, AIA, M.Arch ’59; Constance Bodurow, Assoc. AIA, AICP, CUD, SMArchS ’91; and Noah Resnick, RA, SMArchS, ’04—all of whom are practicing in Detroit, led the 5.25 mile walking tour of significant downtown architecture and urbanism, emphasizing the roles MIT alumni played in the city’s built environment. A mix of Course 2, 4, 6, and 13 participants began at the Detroit Riverfront, the site of Detroit’s First Nations/European founding and recent focus of extensive public realm investments.

Alumni participants were guided  through seven stops, including: the Renaissance Center; the Financial District (featuring Art Deco treasures including the Guardian Building); the former Hudson’s site on Woodward Avenue (currently under redevelopment by Quicken Loans/Rock Financial and soon to feature the tallest building in Michigan); and concluding at Lafayette Park (the largest collection of Mies van der Rohe designed buildings in North America).

The tour concluded with a refreshment stop at local restaurant Gather in Eastern Market, which provided participants with a chance to relax and gain insight into smaller scale, yet no less important, revitalization projects in Detroit. MIT Club of Southeast Michigan President (and official event photographer!) Isaac In-Soo Suh expressed the consensus, stating: “this tour was full of surprises with excitement discovering Detroit history and architectural beauty.”  Organizers expressed their hopes for repeating similar joint events in the future!

10/23/2018: Accelerating Innovation: DesignX @ MIT

On October 23, 2018 over seventy MIT alumni and guests came to downtown Manhattan to hear a series of presentations from leaders and graduates of DesignX, a startup incubator housed within MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning.

The event was held at the Financial District offices of Arup, a renowned building engineering consultancy with over 12,000 employees worldwide. The event began with an introduction by Alessandra Vecchiarelli, SM ’13, M.Eng ’15, a tunneling engineer with Arup and the host for the event. She thanked attendees for coming and gave a brief introduction to Arup and its legacy. Kenneth Namkung, M.Arch ’03, Vice President of the MIT Club of New York, local representative for MITArchA, and the coordinator of the event then took the podium to say a few words. He described the DesignX program as existing at the intersection of technology, innovation, and design, and noted that this intersection could only exist at an interdisciplinary institution like MIT.

Gilad Rosenzweig MCP ’13, Executive Director of DesignX gave the first talk. He began his presentation by discussing the history of entrepreneurship at MIT, noting that alumni-founded companies generate over 9 trillion dollars in revenue annually. He explained: the structure of the DesignX program; its relationships with industry partners; and its larger academic and research framework. He described some of the program’s recent success stories and its collaborations on campus.

Attendees then saw presentation from three New York and Boston-based companies that were nurtured by the DesignX program. Larissa Ovalles SM ’16 presented the work of PrepHub, which creates urban infrastructure that helps communities deal with natural disasters. Stephanie Lee M.Arch ’19 presented Spaceus, which converts vacant buildings into collaborative workspaces for artists, and Arlene Ducao SM ’13 spoke about the work of Multimer, a location analytics system that supports human-centered spatial design and decision-making.

After the talk ended, the presenters returned to the stage for a question-and-answer session. Attendees asked many thoughtful questions, ending the evening on a high note.

Ann Beha FAIA M.Arch '75 receives 2018 BSA Award of Honor

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Anne Beha, FAIA (MArch '75), received the Boston Society of Architects/AIA Award of Honor for her outstanding lifetime contributions to architecture and to the profession.

Beha founded Ann Beha Architects 40 years ago to focus on the potential of preservation and adaptive reuse in revitalizing cities and communities.

Ann Beha has been Design Principal for honored projects at the University of Chicago, Princeton University, Cornell University Law School, and MIT. Her civic projects include the United States Embassy in Athens, Greece, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. She is currently Design Principal for Yale’s new Center for Humanities and for wide-ranging projects for the performing and visual arts, education, and civic resources.

A graduate of Wellesley College, Ann Beha received a Master of Architecture Degree from MIT, was a Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Design at the City College of New York. She is a writer and lecturer, member of Harvard University’s Design Advisory Council, serves on the Industry Advisory Group for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, and is the BSA representative to the Citizens Advisory Commission for the Back Bay Station South End Development.

Learn more about her work at annbeha.com.

Kathy Chia M.Arch '91 and Arjun Desai M.Arch '92 Featured in the New York Times

Article reposted from the New York Times. Original article here. Photos by Eric Striffler.

Growing up near Buffalo, N.Y., Jonathan Yellen cherished his family’s annual pilgrimage to the beach. “We’d throw everybody into the station wagon, drive out to Cape Cod, stay in a little two- or three-bedroom cottage a block from the beach, have a phenomenal time and come back sunburned a couple weeks later,” he said. “That’s a really resonant memory for me.”

It was a tradition that Mr. Yellen — who is now 51 and lives in Dallas with his wife, Marianna, 42, and daughters Olivia, 13, and Natalie, 11 — was intent on continuing.

“When Marianna and I got together, one of our early conversations about hopes and dreams was about being able to have something like that for our kids,” he said. “It’s important to me, and she totally got it.”

As a successful lawyer, he had the resources to go one step further and build his own beach house. The question was where.

So every summer for several years, the family went on what Mr. Yellen called “an annual shopping spree” — renting in various places to audition different beaches. “We did Cape Cod, Kiawah, Nantucket, La Jolla and East Hampton,” he said.

It was Montauk that won them over. “I don’t think there’s a nicer beach in the United States,” he said, adding that they were also taken with the easygoing vibe. “Montauk is very real.”

During a visit in 2015, they bought a termite-ravaged 1960s cottage a block from the beach for $975,000, with plans to tear it down and build anew. Then Mr. Yellen contacted Katherine Chia, a schoolmate from Amherst College who had become an architect and co-founded the New York firm Desai Chia Architecture. Although he and Ms. Chia hadn’t spoken in decades, Mr. Yellen had seen her work online and was impressed.

The Yellens drew up a long list of things they wanted in their house: low-maintenance materials, privacy from the street, separate studies, an oversized kitchen where they could entertain without bumping into guests, a shading strategy to reduce sudden changes in light (Ms. Yellen has a sensitivity that can cause headaches), a space the children could call their own, and an overall sense of peace.

The architects came back with a proposal that satisfied those requests in part by taking inspiration from the artists James Turrell, Ellsworth Kelly and Louise Nevelson. “The James Turrell references were really about Marianna’s sensitivity to light, and thinking about how to modulate the light,” Ms. Chia said. “With Ellsworth Kelly and Louise Nevelson, it was about chiaroscuro, and this back and forth in the facade, with dense areas versus airy moments.”

Mr. Yellen was delighted by the conceptual approach. “They kept us from getting overly suburban or conventional,” he said.

The final design was for a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom house built to the maximum size allowed on the lot — 2,950 square feet — with outdoor living space on patios and decks that would make it feel larger.

The lower level of the house, which is cast-concrete, has three bedrooms and a family room that are largely the domain of the children. The upper level is clad in shou-sugi-ban boards, inside and out, for the look of wood that has weathered with age. Tough, end-grain wood floors and Caesarstone counters in the kitchen are intended to be worry-free, no matter how much sand is dragged inside or tomato sauce is spilled.

The architects designed a large kitchen using worry-free materials like end-grain wood flooring and Caesarstone counters.

Upstairs, the master suite and studies are in the back of the house, with the living room, dining area and kitchen at the front, looking out over wetlands through floor-to-ceiling, sliding glass doors that open onto a covered deck. “It’s almost like a treehouse experience, where you’re up in the branches,” Ms. Chia said.

To save energy, windows and a central stairwell were designed to take advantage of natural ventilation, and the roof is equipped with a solar array large enough to power the house. Aran Construction began building the house in January 2017 and finished last October, at a cost of about $2.5 million.

The Yellens spent all of this past summer there — walking the beach, practicing yoga and watching Olivia become an avid surfer — and they plan to continue using the house throughout the year.

“This is a long-term family house,” Mr. Yellen said. “We can grow older in it, and be in other places as well, but for those critical times of the year” — like Thanksgiving, which they are looking forward to — “it will draw our family together. That’s part of the cleverness of the design.”

Priyanka Shah SMArchS, MCP '08 wins Lawrence B. Anderson Award

Reposted from sap.mit.edu. Original article here.

Priyanka Shah SMArchS, MCP '08 has received the 2017 Lawrence B. Anderson Award for her research proposal, "The Architecture of the Deal: Excavating forces behind architectural form in the largest urban projects in New York and Paris.” The award will support Shah’s investigation of local development deals, zoning regulations, financing mechanisms, and the difference between welfare and pro-market governance to locate relationships between these drivers and the resulting architecture of two neighborhoods: Hudson Yards and Clichy Batignolles.

Priyanka Shah works as an architect in New York City. Her research interests include the work of the French modernist Roger Anger, for which she received the Deborah J. Norden Fund Grant from the Architectural League of New York, and the relationship of urban form to social conditions, which she will pursue as part of her Anderson Award research. She also serves as a New York Chapter Steward for The Architecture Lobby.

The Lawrence B. Anderson Award was established in the spring of 1987, in honor of the former dean of the School of Architecture and Planning (1965-1971), to be presented every other year in support of creative documentation as a valuable form of learning. The endowment fund was initiated by two of Anderson’s former students, I. M. Pei ‘40 AR and William E. Hartmann ‘39 AR, as a lasting tribute to their teacher. Project documentation for each winner can be found in the Rotch Library and Visual Collections

Marie Law Adams M.Arch ’06 creates installation for the Architectural League of New York Beaux Arts Ball 2018.

Photos: Architectural League of New York

The 2018 Beaux Arts Ball, Vector, celebrated the flow of ideas, goods, and people through global networks of communication and exchange. Boston-based Landing Studio’s site-specific installation, 16 Salt Tarps, Half Red Half White, responded to this year’s theme and the Navy Yard’s history. The designers wrote: “16 Salt Tarps, Half Red Half White, are woven in Ohio and sewn in Illinois, unloaded on a gantry in Brooklyn, on their way to cover a salt pile in Staten Island or Newark.”

Dan Adams and Marie Adams founded Somerville, Massachusetts-based Landing Studio in 2005. The studio describes its focus as “developing design tactics for positively integrating active global industries and infrastructures into their local contexts.” The studio’s clients and projects include port facilities, headquarters buildings, demolition plans, shared industrial/public park landscapes, ocean transport, and mining operations worldwide.

Ongoing projects include Infra-Space 1, which turns space beneath an elevated highway in Boston into parking, green space, and stormwater management; the Rock Chapel Marine Headquarters Building in Chelsea, MA; and an installation for the Design Biennial Boston. Past projects include P.O.R.T. (Publicly Organized/Privately Owned, Recreation Territory), a waterfront public event space and park in a maritime industrial dock at Rock Chapel Marine in Chelsea, MA; OIL TANK FUTURES PROJECTIONS: TREES/GIANTS/GOODBYE, an installation in Chelsea, MA; and the design of a temporary light festival on an active industrial salt dock for the LUMEN film festival with Staten Island Arts.

Landing Studio’s project 99 Marginal was exhibited at the MIT Keller Gallery in 2013. They received the Design Biennial Boston Award in 2015. Dan Adams won an AIA Henry Adams Medal from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) in 2005 and Marie Adams won an AIA Medal from MIT in 2006. Dan Adams also received the James Templeton Kelley Thesis Prize from the GSD in 2005.

Learn more about the work of Landing Studio here and here.

07/19/2018: MITArchA Visit to the National Academy of Sciences

On July 17, 2018, over thirty MIT alumni, guests, and friends signed with MITArchA, AMITA, and the MIT Club of Washington DC to attend a unique event at the National Academy of Sciences. The event included: a tour of the building and the exhibitions, an outdoor film screening, and a scavenger hunt. The group met at the bronze Einstein statue on Constitution Avenue.

The National Academy of Sciences was established under Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as a private, nonprofit society of distinguished scholars. There are many connections between MIT and the NAS including a number of key persons such as Charles Vest, the former MIT president who served as the president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The National Academy of Sciences building was designed in 1924 by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, business partner of Ralph Adams Cram, professor and chairman of Architecture at MIT. The building was expanded under the aegis of Harrison and Abramovitz, with an auditorium featuring advanced acoustic design by Cyril Harris who was later involved in the Metropolitan Opera, the Kennedy Center, and the Lincoln Theater. 

Attendees were able to view many exhibitions in the Academy of Sciences, including Aquahoya, developed by the MIT Media Lab. After the tour there was a scavenger hunt and an outdoor screening of the 1974 science fiction film Westworld, featuring Yul Brynner.

06/22/2018: 150 Years of Course IV: NYC Preview Event at the New Museum

 On June 22, 2018, the MIT Club of New York joined forces with MITArchA (MIT Architecture Alumni) and the Department of Architecture to celebrate the upcoming 150th anniversary of Architecture at MIT. Scheduled to coincide with the 2018 AIA Conference on Architecture, this event was held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Over 140 alumni from class years ranging from 1955 to 2018 were in attendance.

Jacob Kain, M.Arch ’00, President of MITArchA, kicked off the event with a brief introduction. He introduced MITArchA, explained its history and reason for being, and encouraged attendees to engage with the Department and their alumni colleagues. Kenneth Namkung, M.Arch ’03 (board member of MITArchA and a VP of the Club of New York) spoke briefly about the alumni community, describing MITArchA as a new but powerful force within the alumni universe. He touched on the storied history of Course IV, noting that its graduates include: the first African-American architect in history, the first professional female architect in America, and two Pritzer Prize winners amongst its alumni before introducing Department Head J. Meejin Yoon.

Professor Yoon began her talk by discussing Course IV’s founding under William Robert Ware, the philosophy that guided those early years, and the Department’s tradition of progressiveness and activism. She described the Institute as an open and generous place that rewards risk-taking, spoke about its commitment to improving the built environment, and discussed the social and environmental values that undergird design education at MIT. Professor Yoon encouraged alumni to attend the upcoming 150th anniversary-related events in Cambridge, including: Experiments in Pedagogy, an exhibition at the MIT Museum, and a symposium on design and research.

Associate Professor Ana Miljacki then took the stand to discuss the Master of Architecture program. She discussed the size of the program—there are about 100 M.Arch students at any time, with an incoming class of between 24 to 30 students. The applicant pool has grown steadily in recent years, and the admissions rate is currently about 10%. In addition, the incoming class now has more women than men. Miljacki discussed the curriculum itself—it is split into Core Studios, which emphasize different entries into architecture as a vocation, and Research Studios, which explore a variety of experimental topics.

Mark Jarzombek, Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture, then took the stand to discuss the structure and ethos of the Department, stating that the Institute supports long and productive careers through the tenure process. The Department currently has 38 tenured faculty (attaining tenure at MIT is not easy), creating an enduring academic community that has helped propel MIT Architecture to a #1 ranking worldwide.

Associate Professor Skylar Tibbits then spoke about his work within the Department, beginning with his work in undergraduate education, describing his role in the BSAD program, as well as his efforts in creating the Design Minor, which reaches undergraduate students from all disciplines. Tibbits then discussed his research group, the Self-Assembly Lab, which works in “programmable materials”. He showed a number of innovative studio and research projects including: 4D Printing (customizable smart materials), Rock Printing, which combines robotically assembled textiles and granular materials to create self-supporting dry masonry structures, and a design studio which focused on rapidly deployable structures for extreme environments.

A number of accomplished local alumni then came to the stage to discuss the impact of the Department on their careers and personal lives. Speakers including: Marcel Botha, SMArchS ’06, Elliot Felix, M.Arch ’06, Mimi Hoang ’93, Scott Lawin ’93, and Andrea Lamberti ’91, gave engaging, insightful, and deeply personal stories about the role that Course IV played in their lives and careers. Professor Yoon then returned to the stage to present awards to other local alumni, including: I.M. Pei ’40, Richard Dattner ’60, Nico Kienzl, SMBT ’99, and William Pederson, M.Arch ’64. After the event ended, the festivities continued with an after-party on a rooftop on the Lower East Side.