Running nearly the entire length of the MIT campus from the East end to the West, the ambling hallway known to students as the “Infinite Corridor” is not only so packed that it has its own informal traffic laws but more spectacularly it is occasionally the site of a phenomenon known as MIThenge.
The never-ending hallway threads 825 feet (or 127 smoots to be more accurate) through each of the major buildings of the Massachusetts school, often being referred to as the complex’s “spinal cord.” With labs and classrooms radiating off of the main thoroughfare all the way down, it is not only one of the most direct route to disparate parts of the school, but unsurprisingly also one of the most crowded. During peak times, such as when classes let out, the school itself has had to instruct travelers to increase their speed and stay to the right among other instructions to keep from clogging their main artery.
When the corridor is not over-stuffed with bumping backpacks a rather lovely occurrence can be observed a few times a year. Thanks to the hallway’s nearly exact East-West orientation, it occasionally lines up perfectly with the sunrise and sunset in a display known as “MIThenge.” During the alignment, which occurs around January and November respectively, students are asked to be courteous as to where they stand so that everyone can enjoy blinding view.
Given the school’s focus on engineering and industrial science, it seems strangely fitting that an exemplar of institutional building design should produce such a lovely show.