Fumihiko Maki's new MIT Media lab - opening March 5.

    Fumihiko Maki's extension to I.M.Pei's MIT Media Lab will open in a few days. I got an early peek. I'll have more to say after a longer visit on Friday, but for now, this.

    First, from the release:
    The Media Lab has expanded into a new, six-floor structure with approximately 163,000 square feet of laboratory, office, and meeting space designed by the Tokyo-based architectural firm of Maki and Associates. Together with the existing Wiesner Building (designed by MIT alumnus I. M. Pei), the complex will serve as a showplace for new concepts in design, communications systems, and collaborative research. The goal is to ignite a new energy and connectivity within the two-building complex, and then extend this energy beyond our walls—to our sponsors and to the world at large.

    The complex will also house the List Visual Arts Center, the School of Architecture + Planning's Design Lab and Center for Advanced Visual Studies, the Department of Architecture's Visual Arts Program, and MIT's Program in Comparative Media Studies. A key component of the building will be the Okawa Center for Future Children, focused on children, learning, and developing nations.


    The entrance space. Here a dash of red on the stair. Later you'll see a yellow one and a blue one. De Stijl colors. They also pick up a color scheme Pei used next door.

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    Done mostly in white with far more glass than the usual Cambridge building



    The spaces inside are generous. Exposed elevators in the entrance space add movement and changing lightness in this space.

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    You quickly notice superb detailing, a Maki trait, and wonder how he got it so good in the U.S.

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    Throughout this project you realize that the client was nonpareil. Nicholas Negroponte, for MIT. He's the the founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, and also known as the founder of the One Laptop per Child Association.

    Here's how the de Stijl colored staircase continues into the building (sorry for the lack of color in the photo.) Notice how the stair swells at the center landing, where structurally it needs the most support. It's honest and makes the stair more interesting.

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    And this takes us to the most exciting part of this place. The section. Two story spaces overlap, see into each other, communicate and connect so all the creative people in this place can "feed off" of one anothers presence. In the multi-story atrium inside the "cubist" architecture excites the senses. We feel various layered planes and qualities of natural light.


    Of course, nothing beats what goes on in the labs.

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    An exhibition on the building in the lobby says,
    The interior spatial configuration was guided by the idea of the "cube", which is a double height open lab space in I.M.Pei's original Media Lab building. These double height spaces have been staggered in the new building to create overlapping and interconnected lab spaces. The structural grid has been organized around the lab to create 3 clear spatial zones - the atrium, the labs and the service zones.
    Need a break? Take the stairs

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    To an outdoor terrace. This one reflects Boston:

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    Or, another view

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    Step out onto this terrace. Charles River on your left.

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    Back down in the entryway, ready to leave. See how it's connected to the city and the life around it.

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    One misstep, the furniture that is not bolted down in here, and that's most of it, was not designed by Maki's firm, and that's a shame. I'd have liked to have seen these spaces with more integrated furnishings. So for example, while this "capsule" looks Japanese, it did not come from the architect.

    Fumihiko Maki MIT Media Lab
    Back outside.


    More from the lobby exhibition:
    The building is sheathed in an aluminum and glass facade with a second layer of louvered screens that overlay the glazing of the double height lab spaces. This highly transparent facade offers an abundance of natural light and a variety of views to the exterior, which is in stark contrast to ordinary laboratory facilities that are often highly concealed. Furthermore, the activity occurring on the interior will be visible from the exterior, exposing the interior activity to the street. The exterior image of the building transforms throughout the day with the changing sunlight conditions illuminating the varying levels of transparency and spatial depth occurring within the building.
    The aluminum rods on the facade, while a bit gray on the day I saw it, do give a nice feel of precise Japanese design and of bamboo on a traditional Japanese facade. Maki has been working on such an element since at least 1993. He's been working on this building for some twelve years.
    The white and the light and the open spaces and transparent walls give a sense of calm. A parallel sense of excitement swells inside of you as you move from space to space.
    .Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2010/03/fumihiko-maki-new-mit-media-lab-opening.html
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