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Wiesner Center for the Arts and Media Technology (Bldg. E15)

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Bldg. E15
1985, I. M. Pei and Partners. 20 Ames St.
  • Wiesner Center for the Arts and Media Technology (Bldg. E15)

Form is intended to express function in this sleek white aluminum-clad structure designed to link technology and the arts by containing facilities for art galleries, workshops, laboratories, performances, and the singular Media Lab, a pioneer in new digital and multimedia technologies. Continuous horizontal windows and corner pilotis reinforce the geometry of the gridded aluminum panels. A total work of art, the Wiesner Center is the product of a collaboration between the architect and three artists. From Ames Street, the monolithic concrete post-and-lintel arch defines the gateway to the east-west axis of the campus. The juxtaposition of new and diverse structures leads to a lack of clarity in orientation, so brilliantly featured in I. M. Pei's plan. Richard Fleischner's landscape design of the plaza imparts some order to the outdoor area leading to the Health Services Building (MT24), while Scott Burton's slatted wooden benches (Charles Rennie MacIntosh derived) and granite cubes are welcome amenities. Kenneth Noland's striped colored panels on the exterior wall are but an introduction to the building's full-length mural on the interior skylit lobby. Here, Burton's curved concrete seating complements Noland's rectilinear forms, enlivened by stripes of color. A four-story enclosed cube is the laboratory and experimental media theater, accommodating all manner of sophisticated computerized acoustical and visual programs—surely the dramatic climax of the center.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Wiesner Center for the Arts and Media Technology (Bldg. E15)", [Cambridge, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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, 310-311.

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