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MIT student blogger Lydia K. '14, MEng '16

Views of Campus, the Charles River, and the First Snow by Lydia K. '14, MEng '16

with a snowman and a snow dalek

My dorm, the 117-year-old Random Hall, is identical to the older buildings lining Newbury Street two miles away in Boston. Much of campus, including the Great Dome and Lobby 7, was built in the early 1900s in the Beaux-Arts style, characterized by large windows, large staircases, and large open lobbies separated from the classrooms and offices. These are interspersed with modern buildings like the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Center, with its huge glass atrium, and the famous contemporary Simmons Hall (waffle) and Stata Center (four-layer, four-flavor ice cream cake, complete with windows and ice cream cones).

People have mixed feelings about MIT’s campus, especially Stata. I personally love the dissonance in the architectural styles, the atmosphere of cumulative, continuing history it creates, and the view of the river. There’s romance in losing sleep and body heat to the lonely 3 am campus, soaking up the light reflecting off the snow and clouds and feeling alone with yourself and the footsteps you’re walking in.

I spent a few evenings last summer and this winter so far photographing campus and the Charles River to show you what I see. All of these are panorama photos stitched together using Hugin and edited with Gimp (both free), and all are clickable for a larger view.

The first snow of the season on the Charles River this past Monday night. The view is of Boston from Memorial Drive, directly across the street from Killian Court.

Views of the Stata Center from the street (top left) and from the courtyard (bottom). The Parsons Laboratory, the Whitehead Institute, and the Koch Institute from the same courtyard (top right).

Killian Court and the Great Dome, this past Monday night on the left and this past summer on the right. Zooming in reveals a snowman and a snow dalek in front of the Great Dome in the winter version.


The Charles River from the Harvard Bridge during a thunderstorm this past summer. My first glimpse of the Charles River was through a downpour, when I was temped in MacGregor for CPW. The walk to campus was miserable: cold air and colder rain and enough wind to annihilate my umbrella and propel the rain through my jacket. It was a complete misrepresentation of Boston weather. I actually have yet to re-experience that level of wretchedness since coming here as a student.

In this image Boston is on the right and MIT is on the other side of the river on the left. You can see the Green Building, the tallest building in MIT and in Cambridge, with a spherical white weather machine radome on its roof.

Sunset over the Charles River from the Harvard Bridge this past Saturday, on the evening of the Old New Year’s Day. The entrance to Killian Court is visible to the left of the Green Building.

The Charles River at sunset this past summer.

Another sunset over the Charles River, this time from MIT. Only Boston is visible, with the Harvard Bridge on the right.

Boston and the Charles River at night.

18 responses to “Views of Campus, the Charles River, and the First Snow”

  1. RSC '14 says:

    Beautiful shots!

  2. Simply stunning!! Beautiful place and awesome shots!

  3. Pete says:

    It’s like being back on campus…nice shots

    and the Stata really is that warped…no photo magic there…

  4. Vishaljeet Singh says:

    great pics and the campus too luks awesome with snow
    thnks fr sharin

  5. Aman Jain says:

    Tears in my eyes ^::^ ,,, !!! Really fascinating !!!

  6. karan says:

    wow,,, seems great, cool pisc, i luv them

  7. Rachel F. '12 says:

    sweet night panorama! what are you stitching these with?

  8. Heather says:

    Amazing photos; I especially like the last one! What type of camera did you use?

  9. Thank you! I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3. It is a several-year-old 7.2-megapixel point-and-shoot with 10x optical zoom that according to Amazon is now worth about $100 used.

  10. Nilanjan says:

    That’s simply mindfreaking! Please post some more so that I can get some wallpapers!! You MIT guys have a particular Barcelona-Real Madrid relationship with Harvard and Cambridge. Don’t you?

  11. Aww thanks. smile All of these are wallpaper width or height on my computer.

    We do have a playful relationship with Harvard, which may or may not be one-sided. During orientation I got lost in the Infinite Corridor. I noticed some unusually well-dressed students playing croquet in the hallway. I asked where Lobby 7 is. They said they were from Harvard and they didn’t know: “We don’t go to this school. We just play croquet in your hallways on weekends.” Meanwhile, some MIT students sometimes jokingly refer to Harvard as that liberal arts school down the road named after a T stop (Harvard Square). Jokingly. We love each other, really. It’s very easy to cross-register for Harvard classes as an MIT student, and vice versa, I imagine. I know some people from Harvard who often go to MIT parties, and my friends and I have been to Harvard Square at least twice the past two weekends to get our ears pierced, buy comic books, and see a movie.

    Note that Harvard isn’t in this post or these photos. Just the Harvard Bridge, which is neither anywhere near Harvard nor named after Harvard the school. Harvard and MIT are both in Cambridge (on the MIT side of the river); Harvard is one subway stop farther from the Charles River.

  12. Nilanjan says:

    Well? Rachel asked the question but I downloaded Hugin.Thanks for the tip (and of course thanks to rachel for asking the question for me)!

  13. kilanko paul says:

    am feel very sad because i could have made it last year to MIT but my mum stopped me cos of my age but this year am not giving up,,,coming to that acient town of boston …

  14. Keshlam says:

    Nice shots. I particularly like the multiple-shots-with-same-framing sequences, which give a nice sense of change over time.

  15. Kilanko, there’s no harm in applying….

    Thank you, Keshlam! Someday I’d like to get identical shots of the Great Dome in all four seasons. Unfortunately I missed fall this year. Someday.