Simmons Hall, MIT: Lungs

Simmons is permeated by five atria, or “lungs”: amorphous, multi-story tears in the building fabric designed to pull natural light into the building hollows while providing a vertical channel for warm air to escape. Per Arup, the atria are treated with the same mechanical approach as student rooms.

 

The architect's rendering

 

Mixed mode supply outlets at the base of the atria supplement natural ventilation in the summer while heated air is supplied into the top of the atria during winter months. Air from mixed mode supply is drawn through the corridors by extract systems located in the bathrooms. As before, the system changes automatically in the spring and fall: air at outdoor temperature is filtered into the atria and corridor and combined with natural ventilation as needed.

 

Interior view of Simmons’ “Lungs”:

 

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