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COLUMN

Defeating Lobby 7 Kiosks

George Waksman

7-100LA, more commonly known as Lobby 7, is one of the most beautiful locations at MIT, Killian Court being its only competition. These places are beautiful not for what they have, but for what they do not have: clutter.

Understanding the beauty of these places is not difficult and does not require any great eye for aesthetics, but just some patience. Go to Killian or Lobby 7, choose a place to stand, sit, or lie, and look around. Appreciate the dome, the sky, the space or whatever you like; just appreciate the beauty of the emptiness.

I have seen the many faces of Lobby 7. I was a freshmen during the height of renovations and it was a horrible place. During renovations, Lobby 7 was a network of tight corridors between scaffolding; it was cramped and oppressive. When renovations were completed and Lobby 7 was itself again, I found myself invigorated every time that I came to campus. Enter the doors of 77 Mass. Ave. or walk out of the Infinite Corridor and suddenly everything opens up. Glance up at the dome, then left and right; the beauty sinks in for just a moment and you are off to your destination. Maybe if you have some time, you sit on one of the pedestals, have lunch, watch the people, or just relax.

But, a horrible thing has happened to Lobby 7: the information kiosks. Those cold metal prisms scattered in Lobby 7 to provide information destroy the space. Enter Lobby 7. Look left, see a kiosk directly in front of you; look right, see a kiosk directly in front of you. Your time is up and you are off to your destination without the moment of beauty that Lobby 7 would otherwise provide. The kiosks are a hideous abomination that must be defeated.

The kiosks have wheels and I thought this to be their saving grace. For the past month, almost every morning, I have diligently moved the kiosks to the sides of Lobby 7, restoring its splendor. I do not move the kiosks for myself alone. I move the kiosks for everyone that sees MIT: I move the kiosks for the students and faculty on their way to class and lab; I move the kiosks for the visitors to marvel at the splendor of MIT; and I especially move the kiosks for the children and high school students that enter Lobby 7, look around, and are given that slight hint of how wonderful all of MIT really is. Alas, I have been told not to move the kiosks because the information they contain is so important that it outweighs the destruction of aesthetic beauty.

Let it be known, that I take no quarrel with the information on the kiosks and consider their role to be important. But the implementation is flawed. Perhaps the kiosks could find a new home where they will not destroy an architectural masterpiece. Maybe we could bring back the drop-posters of pre-renovation times, which did not interfere with the space and also served to remind us that MIT is a friendly student-oriented place. Or maybe, there is another way that we can display our information and have our lobby, too.

The salvation of Lobby 7 is not something that I can accomplish on my own. If you have any say over the kiosks, please reconsider their value. If you have something to announce, don’t use the kiosks but find another way; hang a drop-poster, post somewhere else, or find a creative alternative. Or just push the kiosks out of the way as a sign that you, too, recognize their evil.

George Waksman is a member of the class of 2005.