362 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
Alvar Aalto 1948
Baker House is a student dormitory for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, built by Aalto when he moved from Finland to MIT in the 1940s to take up a teaching position - one of many MIT masterpieces built by eminent architects fleeing Europe at the time. The plan of the building is a sinuous wave, along the length of the Charles River - not because the river undulates, which it doesn't, but to give each room a variety of diagonal views onto the river. The shape is reflected in wedge-shaped student rooms, with customer furniture designed also by Aalto.
On the campus (north) side, the dominant feature of the facade is the hanging staircases, extending out from the facade with the floors above each staircase cantilevered out with it. Aalto uses cantilivered staircases for a similar effect to punctuate the long facade of Finlandia Hall in Helsinki.
Simon Glynn 2010
How to visit
Baker House is building W7 on the MIT campus map.
Baker House's web site is rather uninformative for visitors; alternatively you can call +1 617 253 3161.
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