Architect Frank Gehry's Latest Creation

Peter Kline

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M.I.T.'s Ray and Maria Stata Center, a 730,000-square-foot complex devoted to computer science.

Frank Gehry Gives M.I.T. Its Newest Experiment
By SARA RIMER

AMBRIDGE, Mass., May 12 — Frank Gehry, the architect, says his $300 million new computer science and artificial intelligence building at M.I.T. "looks like a party of drunken robots got together to celebrate."

More photos and the rest of the article are here.
 

Malcolm R

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Looks like a designer and client with far too much time and money on their hands.
 

Peter Kline

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Mr. Gehry and the people at M.I.T. do have a sense of humor. Read the article to find out why it is what it is. The building and space within were badly needed. Aren't you tired of glass and metal boxes? I am.
 

Jason Seaver

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The Boston Globe's Magazine section did a side-by-side of the Stata Center and Building 59, which it replaced (and, yes, "Building 59" pretty much describes most MIT architecture).

I walk by it once or twice a week and love it, but I have no idea how well it works inside. The Globe piece described B59's strictly utilitarian design (it was originally a temporary building erected for Defense work during WWII) as being considered a great equalizer and well-suited to the left-brained folks working within.

But, lord, did MIT need this building, even if the cost and time overruns were hellacious. I live next to Harvard, currently work at Northeastern, and walk through Boston University and MIT regularly, and based on that sample I figure MIT may just be the butt-ugliest college in the world. A building they can actually put on the cover of their catalog certainly couldn't hurt it.
 

Rob Gardiner

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When the EMP (another Gehry creation) opened in Seattle a few years ago, I overheard a resident commenting that it "looks like the Space Needle took a dump".

Small overhead photo available here.

More photos and a cool time lapse video of construction can be found here.
 

Ted Lee

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amen to that. i personally think that building is awesome!

i congratulate forward-thinking architects. i've always wished i had what it takes to think like that...
 

Don Black

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It looks cool. I hope it survives the test of time (aesthetically speaking).
 

Seth--L

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Something about it gives me a kitschy vibe. The color scheme also strikes me as uninspired.

In general, I really don't like Gehry's work. IMO, a building shouldn't call attention to itself. But when you stop and pay attention to it, that's when you should be blown-away. So I guess I like something a little more subtle.
 

Jim_C

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Jason,

When you walk by Stata do you notice the building under construction across Vassar street (over the tracks)? That's the building my firm is designing for MIT. I go out for site visits all the time and you should see the view of Stata from the 8th floor of our building!

The only thing I don't like about Stata is the white wall they erected in the center of the massing along Vassar. Apparently the original design called for a lot more glass but they miscalculated the wind loads on that part of the building and because of cost were forced to change the design. Unfortunately for us the 'white wall' cuts off a lot of the filtered sunlight that the lower part of our building would have received.

It's a cool building and I applaud MIT and Gehry for challenging conventional Boston thinking WRT architecture.
 

Ricardo C

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I'm sure it works beautifully inside, but I can't bring myself to say the exterior design is appealing at all.
 

Chester II

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Dudes,

My understanding is that a lot of his designs have SEVERE performance flaws with regards to snow and ice during the winter and spring thaw. As an actual builder of structures, I find that to be unforgivable. As for the aesthetics, I find it cartoonish, but even an unnattractive building should NEVER be a health hazard.

Dudes,

Chester
 

Jim_C

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>>My understanding is that a lot of his designs have SEVERE performance flaws with regards to snow and ice during the winter and spring thaw
 

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Well, it keeps up the MIT tradition of random buildings that follow no similiar design pattern what-so-ever.
 

Malcolm R

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I've heard the same. For a project in Washington DC, he apparently designed some special windows, with double panes and wood sills. During the winter months the condensation is horrible and the wood quickly rotted.

I also hear that it's his associates that do all the real design work and he just adds a few frou-frou touches here and there...and takes all the credit for everything.

I saw the EMP in Seattle. I wasn't sure it was one of his abominations, but it was the first thing that came to mind after seeing the MIT pictures.
 

MarkHastings

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Kinda reminds me of a Seuss building


I too fear that neat-looking architecture forgets about being practical. I went to an ad agency that had a very 'artsy' design to the space. It looked cool but they had a lot of curving glass walls. As you walked, you got the feeling of swaying back and forth (like you were on a boat) and it made me quite nauseous and a bit disoriented.

But if they can prove that it meets the building code...and I don't have to work in it, then go for it. Cool stuff.
 

Jim_C

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>>I also hear that it's his associates that do all the real design work and he just adds a few frou-frou touches here and there...and takes all the credit for everything.
 

MarkHastings

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Maybe buildings should have "Credits" (like movies) where they list all the people that were involved in the design and construction?
 

Jim_C

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>>Maybe buildings should have "Credits" (like movies) where they list all the people that were involved in the design and construction?
 

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That wasn't his fault. It was the contractor taking shortcuts and not building it to his specifications. I saw a story on Discovery or some other channel about that..
 

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