MIT filed the suit last week in Suffolk Superior Court, also naming Los Angeles-based architecture firm Gehry Partners and the construction company that built the complex in the lawsuit. MIT claims that design flaws are causing leaks, mold growth, cracks in the building’s masonry, and drainage clogs, according to The Boston Globe. Lisa F. Glahn, one of the lawyers representing MIT, declined to comment on the suit.
The Stata Center for Computer, Information and Intelligence Sciences, was completed in spring 2004 and praised by Pulitzer-Prize winning critic Robert Campbell as “a work of architecture that embodies serious thinking about how people live and work, and at the same time shouts the joy of invention,” according to the Web site of MIT’s facilities department. The complex has been celebrated for its unique design, with slants, angles, and shapes that set it apart from typical laboratory or university buildings.
Toshiko Mori, chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, said it was too early to form conclusions about what might be responsible for the Stata Center’s problems. “Anyone’s opinion would be considered premature because no one knows,” Mori said.
MIT paid Gehry Partners $15 million to design the Stata Center, and said in its suit that it has already spent more than $1.5 million to rebuild part of the complex, according to The Boston Globe. “Our lawsuit speaks for itself,” the statement said. Gehry Partners did not respond to request for comment last night.
MIT students said the center is a major part of campus life, despite its unusual appearance. “I was there today and I didn’t see any mold. It has tables, a food court, it has a lot of study spaces, and it also has a gym and a pool, and it has offices and classrooms. It basically does everything,” said MIT freshman Ann Ouyang. “When I first saw it I thought it looked like a spaceship.” “The one word that comes to mind is crazy-looking,” said MIT senior Cindy Y. Chen.
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