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Maclaurin (Bldgs. 3, 4, and 10) and Rogers (Bldgs. 7 and 7A) buildings

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Bldgs. 3, 4, and 10
1913–1916, William Welles Bosworth; 1937, Bosworth and Harry J. Carlson. 77 Massachusetts Ave.
  • Rogers Building

In 1916, President Richard Cockburn Maclaurin dedicated the Great Court complex of MIT, now named in his honor. A classical Beaux-Arts design, the Pantheon-domed central building is marked by a colossal Ionic portico with ten fluted columns, the whole forming a perfectly symmetrical courtyard (the Killian Court), fronting Memorial Drive on the Charles River. On the east and west projecting pavilions, Ionic columns and pilasters frame a grand two-story window. Prominently carved into the lintels are the names of great scientists: Newton on the east faces Darwin opposite. Architect William Welles Bosworth, an early graduate of MIT School of Architecture (1889), had studied in Paris and worked with H. H. Richardson.

However, the main entrance of MIT is through the Rogers Building (1937, Building 7) on Massachusetts Avenue (rather than through the earlier portico on Killian Court), where a stately flight of steps leads to another monumental entrance and to another great domed space within (renovated in 2001). The Infinite Corridor, as it is informally called, stretches six hundred feet and joins various departments and galleries, forming the spine of a rectilinear though labyrinthine network. Posters and announcements and the constant traffic of students create a sense of energy and mission.

Gazing on this building, poet David McCord cited Wordsworth's equation for Newton: “The marble index of a mind forever/Voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone.”

Writing Credits

Author: 
Keith N. Morgan
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Citation

Keith N. Morgan, "Maclaurin (Bldgs. 3, 4, and 10) and Rogers (Bldgs. 7 and 7A) buildings", [Cambridge, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MA-01-MT1.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 302-303.

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