253_Stefan Burnett: MIT Interstitial Housing

Stefan Burnett

Country/City: The United States of America, Boston, Massachusetts

Website: http://stefan-burnett.com/

University: Wentworth Institute of Technology

About You: I am interested in materiality and its role in architecture. Throughout my educational experience I experiment with materials, details, and how they are connected in a larger process. Many of my studio projects, fabrication projects, and research has gone into specific materials. I have designed specific projects using terracotta systems, brick systems, concrete casing, plastic forming, and more. Understanding their behaviors and quality in a larger architectural discourse about sustainability is the connection I look to explore going forward in my career. Outside of architecture I have a passion for sports and taking part in leadership roles. I am an avid golfer and baseball player. I have been a part of numerous leadership roles, such as: Being a resident assistant, a mentor to younger students through workshops, an editor on our design publication team, a member of the architecture instagram page, a member of the sexual assault awareness committee on campus, and more. These three elements make up who I am and what I bring to the table as a designer.


MIT Interstitial Housing


Project Description: MIT Interstitial Housing looks to solve the harsh divide of academics and student living spaces through the use of interstitial open spaces, both housing and academics live off of one another. This new building typology aims to create a healthier balance between academics and student living. These interstitial spaces are those that can revolve around student activities that take place on MIT’s campus. The four spaces are a gaming space, group study space, lounge space, and a public maker spaces. These programs float between both typologies while feeding off the existing interstitial space on the site. The major site constraint is the brick wall of the MIT Chapel by Eero Saarinen which is separated by a street. This wall and street created an existing interstitial space that be building could utilize. This path was maintained to keep the constant flow of foot traffic across the campus. The Chapel is one of the most historically significant buildings in the Boston area, so responding to chapel became the most important feature. The façade system of this building is what ties this design back to the Chapel itself. By leaving the road between the wall and the building footprint, this warranted a screen element that extends the plane of the brick wall. Materials that were the most important in this context were the brick and glass block of the chapel. Each strip away exterior elements as you proceed in to chapel. This is the approach I took for the reading of the façade. The façade takes a more technological approach to brick to connect with the technological culture of MIT. The screen is a hybrid of brick and glass brick to allow some light and views to and from the building. This screen wraps the building and is elevated above the brick wall of the chapel in the same plane. By extending the continuity of brick wall, the building acts as a backdrop and sits in the context well. The screen is suspended with a truss system that creates “steel shelves” to receive the brick. The bricks are connected through the overlap of the running bond by brackets and a steel rod system. Overall the building is a hybrid of two programs, as well as two types of brick to create a new condition on MIT’s campus. This architectural experimentation is an embodiment of MIT, which was the driving force in solving the divide on campus between housing, classrooms, and public programs.

Instagram Username: @stefan112131