Thoughts on Harvard's Tasteless Architecture

Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham had an interesting column yesterday contrasting the bold architecture on MIT’s campus with Harvard’s many recent architectural blunders.  I think you’ll find an explanation for the difference between Harvard and MIT architecture by examining the cultures of the two schools.

Harvard has become completely corporatized. Education means little, especially the education of undergraduates. What’s important is Harvard, Inc. – its wealth, its power, its influence, its world-wide reach, its bottom line. Its recent leadership is risk-averse, instead focusing on appealing donors and maintaining its image.

MIT, on the other hand, takes seriously its mission of turning out students who are tops in science and technology, and doesn’t let fundraising and image-control take priority. MIT is the real thing, although how long it can resist the increasing corporatization of higher education remains to be seen.

And so MIT is capable of building innovative buildings, even at the risk of criticism, while Harvard and its PR people play it safe.  It’s a matter of culture.


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