Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Kresge Auditorium, 1953-55, was designed by Eero Saarinen. It is located opposite the MIT Chapel on the Kresge Oval. The pair of buildings were designed to define MIT’s social cohesion. The Auditorium being designed for formal events and the chapel designed for marragies and memorial services with the oval in between as a public space for civic events.
The auditorium is an elegant copper clad roof which springs from the ground at three points with sheer glazed walls that fill in the arches created by the form of the roof. The sheer glazed walls offer views into the lobby and out onto the green. The roof was constructed as a thin-shell structure of concrete which was an innovative building technique at the time of construction.
The building contains a concert hall which can seat 1226 people and a small theatre with 204 seats, and rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, offices, bathrooms and lounges. The domed roof allows the interiors to remain column free. The lights, loudspeakers and ventilation where incorporated into the hanging acoustic treatment on the roof of the auditorium.