CAC MIT Chapel
ABOUT THE MIT CHAPEL
The MIT Chapel was designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen and dedicated in May 1955 alongside Saarinen’s Kresge Auditorium. The cylindrical building’s unique and graceful design was intended to meet the needs of all faiths and continues to serve as a place of worship for a diverse MIT community.
The building’s unique appearance was new to a campus that had previously employed a more classical architecture style. After some criticism, Saarinen explained that the chapel’s windowless cylinder “implied the self-contained, inward-feeling which was desirable” for a place of worship. He noted that its undulating interior walls promoted good acoustics as well as an “enclosed feeling.”
A stained glass entryway leads to the Chapel, the centerpiece of which is a solid marble altar placed in the center of a circular marble platform. A metal sculpture by Harry Bertoia reflects light from the only window in the Chapel, a beautiful domed skylight. The Chapel also features a 1300-pound bell cast at MIT in the Metals Processing Laboratory and a 768-pipe organ designed by Walter Holtkamp.
The MIT Chapel is open via card access to all members of the MIT Community for quiet observances outside of regularly scheduled events. Groups approved by the Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life may use the Chapel for services. In addition, sororities and fraternities may use the Chapel to hold initiation ceremonies. Members of the MIT community may make special arrangements through CAC to use the MIT Chapel for personal events such as weddings, baptisms, bar/bat mitzvahs, and memorial services. Experienced organists from the MIT community may use the Chapel organ with approval from CAC. The Chapel seats 114 people, but extra folding chairs can be brought in to accommodate up to 140 people. Any request to use the Chapel is reviewed on a case-by-case basis by CAC with special care to preserve the solemnity of the Chapel.
GENERAL PUBLIC - Update - public viewing hours suspended, starting 3/12/2020
Open hours for the general public of the Chapel interior are typically Monday – Friday, 10 – 11 am and 1:30 – 2:30 pm (suspended, starting 3/12/2020). Occasionally a special event may take precedence over these hours. To confirm hours or availability, please contact CAC at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (617) 253-3913.
For booking and special group access, please visit https://studentlife.mit.edu/cac (for MIT departments and ASA-recognized student groups, use CAC's scheduling portal to make requests) or contact CAC at email@example.com or by phone at (617) 253-3913.
If you are interested in learning more about the art and architecture on MIT’s campus, please visit listart.oncell.com for a GPS enabled self-guided tour of the collection.