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Learning by tearing down walls

I walk by Bexley many times a day and wonder when the action will start! Not just destructive action, but constructive learning action! By this I mean many students (and faculty!) were admitted to MIT because in their youth they took stuff apart and were innately curious about how things worked (and didn’t)! Hence since Bexley Hall has been found by experts to be structurally deficient to the point where it is less costly to tear it down and start over, it represents an invaluable learning experience for the MIT community!

How about we tour the building with the experts, and challenge the students (and faculty) to assess what they see. Make problem sets from the sights! Then compare notes with the experts and learn! Next, learn from/with the experts how to take it down most efficiently and with minimal impact on the close environments. And of course, design the next building!

The opportunities are priceless both for a Mens et Manus learning experience, and a community building experience. What about the cost!? This may add to the cost of the project! Ah, but future alumni who would be so happy with this experience would probably write bigger checks to more than cover the added short term cost.

I volunteer to help with the cookouts, problem set writing, nice long thinking walks or runs to contemplate the issues, and of course to push the button!

Alexander Slocum

Pappalardo Professor of
Mechanical Engineering