Description of my Model

(If you haven't seen the pictures yet, look now!)

Why I made the model

I made this model as a final project in my Contemporary Architecture class this spring. The class covered the history of architecture from 1950 through the present, and as a final project we could choose any building from those years and make a model of it. I picked the CIT (Center for Information Technology) because I spend so much time there and I think it's a neat building.


The CIT was designed by the Cambridge Seven architects and completed in 1986. It houses Brown's Computer Science department and Computing and Information Services, as well as public computer clusters and language labs.

For the architecturally inclined

Because there was virtually no precedent for the building type of "computer center" when the CIT was built, the designers were free to come up with their own interpretations. They seem to have chosen a design which is symbolic of its use, with a cubical shape reminiscent of a computer, geometric designs indicating the precise and mathematical nature of the facilities, and stacked glass cubes which give a high-tech feel to the building. In addition, the grouping of floors for different uses is reflected in the facade by varying window size. The first and second floors, with the largest windows, are both public use areas. The top two floors have a slightly smaller window size, and are used by the computer science department. Computing and Information Services uses the third floor, whose windows are a different size and shape from any other floor.

Construction methods

The structural integrity of the model is due to foam core, which I cut out first and then covered with other materials to create the facade. The walls are covered with oaktag with windows cut out and a stencilled paint job. The small windows are black construction paper covered with clear acetate, which I then glued the oaktag over. The cubic windows are covered in silver mylar with black and white paper. The roof is covered in sandpaper to simulate the gravel that is on the real roof, and the skylights are made of an oaktag frame covered with vellum.

Time spent

In case you're wondering how long it took me to actually make this model, the answer is: A Very Long Time. I didn't keep track of the hours, but this project is definitely in the running for Most Time-Consuming Final Project I Have Done. And that includes my cs32 final project.

Sharon Goldwater
Last modified: Tue Jul 8 21:33:32 EDT 1997