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MIT Chapel (Bldg. W15)
The exterior cylindrical form, of rough water-struck red brick, is almost pure, minimal sculpture, which is crowned with a steel spire bell tower by Theodore Roszak that hardly prepares one for the experience within. A quasi-mystical atmosphere is created in this small 130-seat non-denominational chapel. Contributing to its spellbinding effect is the illumination. From below, changing light patterns are reflected through the irregularly shaped arches of the undulating brick base that rests on a watery moat; from above, an oculus casts a shimmering glow on Harry Bertoia's ephemeral screen of metal rods and cross plates, the sole ornament above the altar. Entrance to this retreat is via a narrow low-ceiling narthex, a transitional passage, which heightens the meditative spirit one senses upon entering the chapel proper—a small space with immense power to transport one beyond the quotidian life of MIT.
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