MIT Chapel Visit

Earlier this afternoon, I smooted my way across the river to check out Saarinen's MIT Chapel. It's nice to have a camera in your phone for spontaneous trips.
(click to enlarge images)
The building sits at the east end of the quad opposite another Saarinen, the Kresge auditorium. Atop the brick cylinder sits a metal sculpture by Theodore Roszak.
I am struck by the contrast between the door and the wall material. The color says "enter over here, please." Placing the entrance away from the most important facade intends to reward your exploration of the site. For example, in your wanderings, you can't help but notice that the whole thing sits in a shallow pool.

Being inside the chapel is a real treat. The shapes are simple, but the feeling is incredible. Over a white marble altar hangs a Harry Bertoia sculpture that reflects the natural light from above. It makes the light tangible, as if it is dripping down from the ceiling and flowing under the chairs.


  1. My first encounter with the work of Eero Saarinen was the austere women's residence hall on the Penn Campus when I was there in the early 1960's. It was like a prison on the outside but the interior was a white Italian garden design in stark contrast to the exterior and the neighborhood.

  2. The table and chair combination at Paley Park is a Bertoia/Saarinen project