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Project timeline

1999 – 2002


Education & Research

Location Change this

229 Vassar St
02139 Cambridge

Current state


Architect Change this


Perry Dean Rogers & Partners (local architect)

Client Change this

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Partners Change this

Structural engineers
Guy Nordenson and Associates (design structural engineer)

Services engineers
Ove Arup & Partners (mechanical engineer)

Project management
Daniel O'Connell's Sons (construction manager)

Fisher Marantz Stone

Structural engineers
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Services engineers
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (project engineer)

Services engineers
Guy Nordenson and Associates (project engineer)

General contractor
Daniel O'Connell's Sons

Simmons Hall Change this

Cambridge, USA
by Steven Holl Change this
1 of 13

Description Change this

The undergraduate residence is envisioned with the concept of "porosity." It is a vertical slice of city, 10 stories tall and 382' long, providing a 125 seat theater, a night café, and street level dining. The "sponge" concept transforms the building via a series of programmatic and bio-technical functions.

The building has five large openings corresponding to main entrances, view corridors, and outdoor activity terraces. Large, dynamic openings are the lungs, bringing natural light down and moving air up. Each of the dormitory's single rooms has nine operable windows. An 18" wall depth shades out the summer sun while allowing the low angled winter sun to help heat the building. At night, light from these windows is rhythmic and magical.


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