These Two Buildings Show Why MIT Is One Of The Coolest College Campuses In The Country

This feature is a part of our Best Colleges In America series.

We recently ranked the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the best college in the country — but MIT is more than just an academic juggernaut.

MIT’s campus is one of the coolest in the country, an awesome mix of classic architecture and modernist design. Below, we’ve profiled two structures — the Great Dome and the Stata Center — that show off the diversity of MIT’s campus.

MIT’s Great Dome:

The Great Dome looms over Killian Court, MIT’s main quad and a center of classical architecture on campus. Built in 1916, the Dome is reportedly based off of Low Library at Columbia University — which in turn was built to emulate the Pantheon in Rome.

The architecture is explicitly and purposefully a return to earlier styles, and it succeeds in evoking a true classical beauty. Surrounding buildings bear engravings of the names of some of the greatest thinkers in history — from Aristotle to da Vinci to Darwin — reflecting the pillars of academic thought.

The Ray and Maria Stata Center:

One of the newest structures on campus, the Stata Center is a complex of buildings mainly centered around engineering and computer science. The complex — which will celebrate its 10th year in 2014 — was designed by contemporary architect Frank Gehry.

Many of the walls in the Stata Center jut out at various angles, giving it a brutalist and disorderly appeal. Architectural critics have positively compared Gehry’s aesthetic to the creativity of the research inside.

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