Inside the Sponge
A Study of Architecture after Architects

on exhibit at the Canadian Centre for Architecture
August 10-November 12, 2006


 “...vous savez, c'est toujours la vie qui a raison, l'architecte qui a tort..." 

[…you know, it is always life that is right, and the architect who is wrong…]

- Le Corbusier

The SENSEable City Laboratory has been invited to produce a research project on the newest MIT residence, Simmons Hall, designed by acclaimed architect Steven Holl. The research will be exhibited at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montreal), one of the leading architectural institutions and museums in North America, from August 10 - November 12, 2006. For official information about the exhibition, please visit the CCA website.

The research project is centered upon the exploration and study of Simmons Hall in terms of its users, its functioning, and the life it engenders and creates. Such an approach has largely been neglected within the discipline of architecture since the 70s, however it is an approach that aligns itself with MIT�s ongoing commitment to its unique campus and student culture.

While the premise of the research resonates with the salient ideological approaches favored in the 70s, the methodology is purely contemporary, and uniquely �MIT� � comprised of innovative and cutting edge ideas, methods and tools for analysis � envisioned, engineered and deployed by the students themselves (eg. real-time data mapping of WiFi usage and user locations, infrared occupancy studies of public spaces, etc)

For this reason, Simmons Hall serves as an ideal candidate for such research: as a high profile building of great architectural importance, but also as a community of fiercely creative, experimental, curious and autonomous students whose culture will be the primary subject of the exhibition, and whose work and ideas will generate the analyses and content.

peek at some of the works...

curator :  Carlo Ratti
associate curator :  Talia Dorsey
researchers:  Sarah Dunbar, David Foxe, Guy Hoffman, Jeff Roberts
Simmons Hall students : Liang Hong '06, Ji-Eun Park '07, Jennifer Wong '06
Simmons Hall Housemasters :  Ellen and John Essigmann
with the generous support of:  MIT School of Architecture and Planning, MIT Division for Student Life, MIT Council for the Arts

MIT      Council for the Arts

Press Materials
The material on this website can be used freely in any publication provided that:

It is duly credited as a project by the MIT Senseable City Lab. PDF copy of the publication is sent to

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