"The extraordinary, captured."

Simmons Hall, MIT's undergraduate residence, is one of Steven Holl's most acclaimed buildings and a top in my list of extraordinary buildings. As always I started with location scouting by taking detailed notes and quick pictures of the building's most intriguing spots. My allocated time was limited so it was crucial that I determined exact shooting locations in advance, not an easy thing to do in a building where extraordinary design shines just about everywhere. Back at the studio I loaded all the photos to my computer and went through the editing rounds until I had a well defined shooting "script" including exact locations, angles and light conditions. It took 3 days to capture the various looks that night and daylight were giving the building's exterior. Finally after waiting out unexpected rain I got the shot that I was looking for, a dramatic sunset sky playing off the building lights and that moody feel rain leaves behind, extraordinary!

If the chameleon-like nature of the building's exterior was striking, the interplay of opposites that characterizes Holl's architecture shone everywhere in the interior. I chased every opportunity to catch Holl's intermingling of solid and void, the opaque and transparent, sharp lines against organic curves. An extraordinary visual feast for the world to enjoy.

 

Behind the scenes photos courtesy Liza Voll and Kinga Borondy

 

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