Reconstructing Eero Saarinen’s MIT Chapel

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MIT is renovating their chapel, designed by Eero Saarinen and dedicated in 1955, using modern building techniques and materials to maintain the original design.


Major funding for American Masters — Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future is provided by the A. Alfred Taubman Foundation. Additional funding is provided in part by American Institute of Architects, National Endowment for the Arts, The Durst Family, Vital Projects Fund, Eric and Katherine Larson Family Fund, MCR Development LLC, Gerald D. Hines, Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown, KieranTimberlake, KPF Foundation, and Daryl and Steven Roth Foundation.

Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional funding is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Lenore Hecht Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers.

The idea is to come back as close to the original as possible and try to meet current codes and same with the door I'm happy to say that I've just been told that they're completely fixing up the MIT chapel and they're going to match the color - all the color of the stained-glass windows which looks like a Monet when you look at the originals. We're going to be restoring the sky light. They just have a long list of repairs including the roof. They have plans - the original plans, and they're totally copying it and restoring it to exactly how it was in the old days. The same structural capacity and maintain the thin mullions do it in the stainless, you'll have a material that isn't going to corrode and oxidize over time, so it should last much longer than the original material.

It should last - you know - stainless should last indefinitely.

The torch has been passed on and everybody seems to be inspired to go back to how it was, rather than fix it.

they're not symmetrical is one right you know the third is one that's straight up and then on either side once higher than the other so it's not he tried to keep it a little unsymmetrical and I keep thinking they're like magic tricks like I finally like how do you do this I would we do that when you're trying to do it right yeah okay yeah it looks easy but it's not yeah yeah that's phenomenal these are so unique there never is only one that will only ever be right you're not going to want to preserve it unless it's inspiring that's the thing and that's the thing about that's the key yeah good there are no windows in this at all and that's all windows things like that little tricks you know this is very spiritual that's a great auditorium and the acoustics are fantastic and neither of these are like anything else he did that there's no other conical form that i can think of its like the chapel and there's no other form that based on a three-point of the dome as coming from the trees I know this looks good with the trees in the foreground so maybe down below the senior chapel coming around the corner and prevailing the chapel from the trees that might work well