Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Built Environment

MIT was a quirky place, and it had nothing to do with the students or the faculty. Even the buildings had their oddities. For one thing, there were floor-level plugs into which the Physical Plant people plugged their vacuum cleaners.
For another thing, the new dormitory that opened to students in 1976 was called New House. It was named New House because it had not been named yet. It was a classic example of '70s Urban Renewal architecture consisting of concrete and glass and concrete and brick and concrete and wood and concrete and...
There were five separate living entries in New House, including one that had been named Vardebedian House by its residents. I'm not sure if the others had names, but I think for 50 dollars you could have had your name on one of them.

New House was soon not the only new house on the west side of campus.  It would be joined in short order by at least two other dorms, Next House and Simmons Hall. I was waiting for them to build the final dormitory at the far west end of the campus - Out House.

1 comment:

  1. New House was actually modeled on Senior House in concept, but, without the courtyard, it never developed the mix of vertical cohesion from the "houses" (there were six, btw) and a collective identity for the whole place, at least not during its infancy. (House Five, initial cohort here.)

    Also, House 6 was split between Russian House and French/German House, and House 1 was home to Chocolate City.