Simmons Hall is an award-winning university dormitory designed by architect Steven Holl on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge. Inspired by the sea sponge and the concept of porosity, the building is radical in structure and ambitious in its program to encourage social interaction. Inside the Sponge is an investigation of Simmons Hall from the perspective of its residents, giving voice to MIT’s student body to draw a unique description of the building’s life. It proposes a dialogue between architectural intentions and the process by which a community appropriates space.
The exhibition features original materials and research by Simmons Hall residents, including videos, t-shirts, photographs, comics, and entries from the popular student design competition to modify the building, “How to Drill a Hole in Simmons Hall.” Presented in complement to the students’ work are original watercolours, drawings, and a model from Steven Holl Architects which describe the concept and development of the building.
Inside the Sponge is the first in a series of CCA exhibitions developed in collaboration with universities.
Project direction: Giovanna Borasi, CCA.
Curator: Carlo Ratti, MIT, with Talia Dorsey, MIT.
Co-organizer: Massachusetts Institute of Technology SENSEable City Laboratory, Cambridge, MA.