MIT Chapel Lighting

NESAH Tour: Finnish-American Architecture at MIT

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Meet at: 77 Massachusetts Ave

All tour participants must RSVP with their complete name to by 5pm Thursday, September 17.

All tour participants must bring valid ID for entry to Baker House.

In the decade after World War II, the architectural expansion of MIT westward from its initial Cambridge campus brought opportunities for both Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen to contribute to the campus. These notable architects of Finnish heritage brought incorporated striking uses of material, light, and form within their vocabularies of modern design. This tour of Aalto’s Baker House dormitory and Saarinen’s MIT Chapel will focus on the buildings’ inception, construction, evolution, and use by the MIT community, as well as their rehabilitations after more than five decades of occupancy. Architect, MIT alumnus and former Baker House resident David M Foxe (Safdie Architects) will join David Fixler FAIA (Principal, EYP Architecture and Engineering) to lead the tour. David Fixler was the architect of the rehabilitation work for both Baker House starting in the late 1990s, and more recently for the MIT Chapel.

All tour participants must RSVP with their complete name to by 5pm Thursday, September 17. All tour participants must bring valid ID for entry to Baker House.


A lecture by Elizabeth Hope Cushing on her recent book:

Arthur Shurcliff: Design, Preservation, and the Creation of the Colonial Williamsburgh Landscape

Wednesday 6 May 2015 7:00 p.m.

Codman Estate Carriage House
34 Codman Road, Lincoln, Massachusetts




6:00pm Wednesday 25 March 2015

 Historic New England’s Otis House Museum Auditorium,

141 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA



Masridge “Jonas Mulokas: Lithuanian Vernacular + American Modernism”

Milda Richardson, Northeastern University

Two examples of ecclesiastical architecture by Jonas Mulokas unite inherited folk culture and American modernism as illustrated in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and others.


GropiusAbele entries“Gropius Copying Gropius?: The Abele House and the spread of Suburban Modernism”

Amy D. Finstein, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

 Walter Gropius’ home in Lincoln, MA is well known as the embodiment of Bauhaus ideals in the late1930s.  Less familiar, however, is the kinship between Gropius’ house and a slightly later commission completed during Gropius’ brief partnership with Marcel Breuer, the Abele house.  This talk will compare and contrast these two houses and explore their relationship to the spread of Modernism in the Boston suburbs in the mid-twentieth century.


“A Tale of Two (Would-be) Historic Districts”

George Walter Born, Boston University

 This talk explores the first efforts to create historic districts in Boston after the founding of the Boston Landmarks Commission in 1975.  Residents from Ashmont Hill and the West Back Bay/Bay State Road petitioned the newly created Commission in the late 1970s for historic-district designation, but the outcomes were very different.  One provoked a counter-movement that successfully stopped the designation effort; the other moved smoothly through the process to be designated.  These case-studies in local historic-preservation activism showcase varying levels of acceptance for municipal action in this sphere, especially among different neighborhood groups.  Employing methodologies borrowed from urban sociologists and scholars of social movements, this investigation forms a part of a larger project examining the creation of historic districts in Boston from 1953 to 1983.


Croatia Image“Croatia at the Crossroads: A Report on the SAH 2014 Study Tour”

Jacob D. Albert, Albert, Righter & Tittmann Architects, Inc.

 After glancing at a pre-tour stop in Zagreb, we’ll be following the course of the SAH tour, starting in Sarajevo in Bosnia; looking at several places along the Adriatic coast of Croatia which have, over the centuries, been part of the Roman, Venetian, and Austro-Hungarian empires; and ending in Venice, where we visited the architecture Biennale.  Medieval urbanism will be a focus of the exploration of the Croatian coast.