MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Snively '11

Jun 30, 2008

Building 56

Posted in: Miscellaneous

When you first visit MIT you may think that it's ugly. Butt ugly. Uglier than anything you've ever seen. On the other hand, you may instead think that it's the most beautiful thing on earth. The reason for this is quite simple: MIT has a middle school crush on weird/innovative architecture. Stata, Kresge, Building 66, the Green Building, the Brain and Cog building, all are a little different than your ordinary structure. While some colleges, like Harvard and CalTech, strive for uniform and regal architecture, MIT is like "I WANT WEIRD STUFF, GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME!" Of course, MIT has its fair share of boring buildings as well. Take, for example, building 56.

It sits right at the end of the infinite, next to the NEWLY INSTALLED DIP-N-DOTS MACHINE!!!

A hollowed-out rectangular prism, it's nothing more than a hallway. There's an Athena cluster about half way down and there's also some doors that lead to Stata or the Green Building (buildings people care about) but nothing in 56 really other than that.

As a freshman you may have a class or two in 56. I had my HASS class there and a physics recitation first semester and I know bioethics has their recitation in 56 as well. Here's a shot of the hallway from the other end.

That's really it. I wrote an entire entry about a hallway. In building 56. Because there's nothing special about it. At all.

Oh, completely unrelated sidenote: Click this if you want the answer to the cryptogram puzzle from my last post. Arjun and Vicki C were the first two to solve it, followed by Jeremy V and Thomas V, nice job you guys!

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

NOTHING MORE THAN A HALLWAY?!!! There's a Dip-N-Dots machine. In a school. That makes it more than just a hallway.

Posted by: Connie '12 on June 30, 2008

thats the nicest hallway I've ever seen in a school.

the dip-n-dots machine makes it twice as cool.

Posted by: ben on June 30, 2008

Stata and Simmons are amaaaazing.

Posted by: 0 on June 30, 2008

Curse you snively and your ingenius plot of spoiling the crypto for me inside a post OF A HALLWAY

ingenius i say

Posted by: Kevin on June 30, 2008

OMG That area in the first picture with the signs for building 26 and 56 is where the red team prison was in the underground CTF game during CPW. I unfortunately was there till the end when red whomped on us blue folks. Better dead than red! grin

Posted by: Omar '12 on June 30, 2008

Cryptograms on the floor of hallways!!!


Posted by: 0 on June 30, 2008

Heh, I was giving some non-MIT friends a tour of the school, and when we walked past the Dippin' Dots poser machine, they asked me what it was. I said I had never seen that before, and that it was awesome! Then we proceeded to buy some and eat it. Great day (except for the 10 minute thunderstorm).

Posted by: Efolse '11 on June 30, 2008

Ummm.. the first hallway photo looks like Building 16 though, not 56 (then again who cares because it's just a boring stretch of buildings? is that what you were going for?).

Posted by: cristen on June 30, 2008

56 is one of the nicest buildings on campus. why don't you like it?

Posted by: 0 on June 30, 2008

The milk machine in the basement of building 4 totally owns the Dippin' Dots machine. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Sam on June 30, 2008

ok i officially feel like i am going to be the stupidest one at mit. i am completely dumbfounded by that puzzle and i have no idea how anyone could just figure that out.

Posted by: john '12 on June 30, 2008

it's not even real dippin' dots. what the heck is "mini melts"???

Posted by: '11 on June 30, 2008

@John: I feel exactly the same way. I opened it, and have no idea what to do. It does look sort of like a crossword though...

Posted by: Becca '12 on June 30, 2008

Arrgghhh! I spent like six hours working on that crypto.

Posted by: Mary on June 30, 2008

OMG anonymous, you're right, check out the hallways!!!!!!!


Posted by: 0 on June 30, 2008

Dude, 56 also leads to building 66...which is a way cool building (the right triangle!)

Posted by: Mia on June 30, 2008

It's special in that it's not special :D

Posted by: Ilyanep on June 30, 2008

@ Omar: OMG! You were on blue team?!?! I was on red. I have to say Blue's idea to put the flag in a difficult-to-get-to-without-being-caught stairwell, and barricade the door with a bench... GENIUS! (though, a tad unfair)

Also, what does the yellow sticker on the East Campus sign say?

Posted by: Jeremy '12 on June 30, 2008

Hi Snively! So today I was walking into MIT as Matt McGann was walking out of building 56 no less, and then I walked down the Infinite as Nance was leaving his office. THEN I think I saw you rollerblading out of Infinite. I was the girl walking in through the doors with a purple raincoat and a shoulder laptop bag, and my dad was with me.

Anyways, that was kind of pointless, but I thought it was kind of funny that I saw three admissions "superstars" within five minutes of each other. I hope your job at Hasbro is going well!

Posted by: Meagan on June 30, 2008

The Llama Song is perhaps the ultimate internet classic. (:

Posted by: Anonymous on June 30, 2008

@ '11 --

An offshoot company making flash-frozen ice cream with a very questionable intro video on its website:

Posted by: Efolse '11 on June 30, 2008

@ Efolse '11

Ummm.... That video is just... wrong. In more than one way.
I'm definitely NOT buying that ice cream.

Posted by: '11 on July 1, 2008

Will someone tell me what the yellow sticky thing on the tail end of the East Campus sign arrow thing says in the first picture?

Posted by: Daniel on July 1, 2008

Snively, did you ever figure out what was written on those white/black squares on the floor of building 56?

Posted by: Oasis '11 on July 1, 2008

Isn't that what he just got all the pre-frosh to do for him? Or were those other black and white tiles?

Posted by: 0 on July 1, 2008

I totally agree with you that MIT has weird architecture, but I think building 56 is actually one of the highlights when I tour people around MIT! In addition to the dippin' dots machine (!), it has an Interactive Media display wall, and it has poster murals describing some of the hacking highlights in the past! And the most amazing thing is that if you look carefully, the entry of every doorway has a different patterned block in the floor. It actually turns out that the patterns actually say something...and you could decrypt it with a code that's embedded in one of the poster murals! Maybe building 56 is not so boring after all??? =)

Posted by: anit '04 on July 1, 2008

Funny you should go over this. I'm doing the summer HSSP program, and two of my classes are in 56! I had never ventured into that area before (or had I? maybe I had and it just was not that exciting to stick in my memory?). I did notice that ice cream machine, and will def. be purchasing some cotton candy 'mini melts' next sunday. Oh and that video of the men laying still and falling out of the white bed sheets! Crazy.
Is this hall designated to a single department?

Posted by: V on July 1, 2008

@Efolse That movie was quite scary in soo many ways.

@Jeremy It might be cheap that Blue stuck the flag in a barricaded stairwell but I think its even more cheap that Red stuck the flag in the Red base/jail. Still, kudos for whoever thought that up.

Posted by: Albert Wang '12 on July 1, 2008

One of the other great things about Building 56 is the Media Test Wall, an ongoing series of contemporary video screenings. This program administered by the List Visual Arts Center features the work of a wide variety of contemporary video and film artists. Currently on view is the work of Swedish artist Maria Friberg.

For more info check out the List Center website:

Posted by: Mark Linga on July 1, 2008

Q. What do you get when you mix milk, cows, apples, grapes, chocolate, and liquid nitrogen?

A. sʇlǝɯ-ıuıɯ

Posted by: 0 on July 1, 2008

SNIVELY you left out Simmons!
tsk tsk tsk.

Posted by: Shamarah on July 1, 2008

Aww, I like building 56. I think the hallway looks cool.

Also DIPPIN' DOTS?!?! AHHH I've been working at Caltech/away from MIT for too long already :-(

Posted by: Lauren '12 on July 1, 2008

Flash freezing ice cream does not actually make it any better, just more expensive. Coming in little balls like it does is just a gimmick (as gimmicks go, it is a pretty cool one, but it is still a gimmick). The only cool thing about dippin dots is that there is a machine selling them at MIT.

Posted by: Ruth '13? on July 1, 2008

Hey now, half the fun is watching those kinds of vending machines work, too. Much more epic than the normal snack machines that just turn a spiral and get your bag of chips stuck half the time.

Posted by: '10 on July 1, 2008

Okay, I disagree. Building 56 has that puzzle which I have yet to solve, in the tiles of the first floor hallway. It has a "history of hacking" display. It is home to the Language Lab and all the language classes, on the 7th floor. The couches outside the Language Lab, incidentally, are campus's best kept secret about comfortable places to take naps. Everyone knows about the chairs in the Music Library, but the Language Lab couches are always available, and are more comfortable because you can actually lie down. Building 56 also has that nifty modern art video thing happening on the first floor. It has the fastest elevators on campus. It's air conditioned. And now, apparently, it has a Dippin Dots machine too?

Posted by: Dizzle '09, AKA Adelaide on July 2, 2008

No, it does not have a Dippin' Dots machine. It has a Mini Melts machine.

Posted by: '10 on July 2, 2008

(or mini melts. whatever.)
i did not know such a thing even existed.
thank you thank you thank you for the info. =)

also, in the defense of building 56, the hall has some little alcoves with pictures of old/historical hacks, which i rather like. especially the series of pictures:
[time] TO [time]

Posted by: Caroline '11 on July 2, 2008

"Will someone tell me what the yellow sticky thing on the tail end of the East Campus sign arrow thing says in the first picture?"

--ditto Mr Jeremy and Daniel's question

The suspense is KILLING ME!!!! TELL ME NOWWW!!

Posted by: Ty'12 on July 2, 2008

It says "Say No to June 30th"

I have no idea what that means.

Posted by: Snively on July 2, 2008

"Say No to June 30th" has to do with a controversy (last year) surrounding a professor who didn't receive tenure. (The date refers to the professor's last day of employment.)

Mmmm Dippin Dots =P

Posted by: Piper on July 3, 2008

PFFT! Mini Melts do not a Dippin' Dots make.

Posted by: 0 on July 3, 2008

Wait, you didn't already know the answer?


You should post some more puzzles to assuage my hurt feelings. ^____^

Posted by: Arjun on July 3, 2008

That building does look pretty boring. It could use an upgrade for sure.

Posted by: wisdom on July 4, 2008

Yo whats the answer to the riddle, I get free pizza if i can find it by finding someone who knows so please? I must have made a mistake somewhere or then acamupstah must be a new word (?)...

Posted by: P-Dizzle on July 18, 2008

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