Lessons from pre-industrial climate control

Sunday, July 23, 2017 - 23:02 in Physics & Chemistry

Alpha Arsano is standing next to the MIT Chapel’s marble alter, admiring the view through the domed skylight above. Outside, water surrounds the cylindrical red-brick structure like a shallow moat. Inside the chapel, the brick walls ripple like waves. Tiny windows line the walls and face downward so guests can see slivers of the moat. When sunlight reflects off the water at a certain angle, it shines into the chapel and dances onto the walls. Arsano, who just earned a master’s in architecture studies and will continue in the fall in MIT’s PhD program in building technology, admires the different qualities of many buildings on campus. But none compare, in her mind, to the MIT Chapel. She says she is captivated by the structure’s simplistic beauty and its ability to seamlessly interact with components of the outside world in a spiritual, sustainable, and striking way. Bringing environmental elements — specifically, natural ventilation...

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