MIT sues Gehry


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is suing Frank Gehry, alleging there are serious design flaws in the Stata Center, a building celebrated for its unconventional walls and radical angles.

Check the link for yourself:

Nov 6, 07 3:14 pm
el jeffe

wow - that GC was quick to distance themselves from Gehry...

Nov 6, 07 3:18 pm
won and done williams

and the fingerpointing begins...

Nov 6, 07 3:19 pm

way to build 'em site specific Gehry! woo hoo!

(this should have waited for tomorrow's sarcastic Wednesday thread...)

Nov 6, 07 3:25 pm
le bossman

hmmm...i wonder if the emp had any of these sorts of issues. there is a snow jack on the roof in that picture.

Nov 6, 07 3:27 pm

Was there an Architect of Record involved or did Gehry actually do the CDs?

Nov 6, 07 3:35 pm

roof spikes to stop falling ice......der

Nov 6, 07 3:47 pm
Living in Gin

And MIT didn't realize Gehry was a hack before they hired him?

Nov 6, 07 3:56 pm
liberty bell

Well WTF do they expect? If you want a roof that doesn't leak you're gonna have to pay more than a 5% fee!

Kidding, sort of. It is ridiculously low.

Nov 6, 07 4:00 pm

so will eisenmann get sued next? leaking ceilings, cracked concrete, stairs to nowhere...

Nov 6, 07 4:03 pm

they said the fee was $15,000,000. My guess is thats way way over 5%. Thats over 10%. Ive seen the fee on 20 story concrete towers - under a million.

Nov 6, 07 4:03 pm
liberty bell my math wrong? $15M on a $300M cost (also from the article - though who knows what that "cost to build" really means (furnishings? site work? interest? remediation? interior design?) is 5%, right?

Nov 6, 07 4:07 pm

I have a hard time believing that Gehry would take the project farther than design development for 5%. There had to be another architect involved! I can't turn up anything on Google, so I guess that information doesn't exist.

Nov 6, 07 4:07 pm

his building at the University of Cincinnati is a piece of shit as well...the thing vibrates

Nov 6, 07 4:09 pm

so do you guys believe that it is specifically Ghery's fault? I think he aimed for the minimum code requirements so he would not sacrifice any of his design?

Nov 6, 07 4:31 pm
Living in Gin

Maybe universities will get a clue and start hiring architects who are good, rather than the usual cast of celebrity one-trick-ponies who got profiled in the latest issue of Architectural Record. I can't help but speculate that universities pick their architects the same way the Hollywood studios pick actors for their latest badly-written action thrillers.

"Okay, we finally have the funding for that new lab building for the biology department. Get Zaha on the phone. Oh, she's designing a new dorm building up the road at State U? Shit, that's no good. We need somebody else, somebody big. Gehry is available? Outstanding! We'll build the first Gehry building in the state. This is gonna be huge! The needs of the university and the department? What the fuck are you talking about? Screw them, we need this building to look good on all the glossy brochures we send to prospective student and donors. Oh, and make sure it's LEED-certified... LEED is big this year."

Nov 6, 07 4:33 pm

Oh, geez... Just remembered Gehry is designing the UNDERGROUND addition to the Philadelphia Museum.

Nov 6, 07 4:37 pm

bossman, i've heard that the emp leaks a hellavu lot.

Nov 6, 07 4:39 pm

the % rules change based on scale of project. Nobodys getting paid 8-11% on a $billion dollar project. I have a hard time believing the lab building was $300 million. Thats a 60 story office building and garage. The architect's typ responsible for the core and shell, classrooms and support spaces for a building like that, with an MEP firm specializing in laboratories ( slate, special drains for chemicals etc. ) then theres the equip, the biggest exepense - like a lasr lab or some odd shit. So who knows what the building costs are. Doubtful
$300 mil

Nov 6, 07 5:34 pm

does MIT teach a waterproofing class in their architecture program?

Nov 6, 07 5:55 pm
el jeffe

dunno, but they could start a bitchin' forensic building class with lab time.

Nov 6, 07 6:02 pm

you do have to wonder if the powers that be think to themselves....geez, our building is leaking. Maybe we should teach our architecture students how to build buildings that dont leak

Nov 6, 07 6:09 pm
Ms Beary

we would have done it for 1.9% and it wouldn't have even leaked!

Nov 6, 07 6:10 pm
Ms Beary

So, at times like these, I feel really stupid for preaching that architects are necessary on building projects. I have limited evidence of this, it's just a silly gut feeling that I rarely, if ever, get across, and have seriously doubted myself many times, many times a day that is.

There is just so much more evidence, concrete easy to understand evidence, to the contrary... sigh. I expect more. A lot more.

Nov 6, 07 6:13 pm

mit has a history of bad buildings....really bad buildings....mostly because they don't have a well funded program for maintaining their I have been told.

Nov 6, 07 6:20 pm
Nov 6, 07 6:32 pm

all universities should hire firms like HOK to do their buildings.
just to make sure they dont leak.

Nov 6, 07 6:35 pm
le bossman

two words: weather watch.

Nov 6, 07 6:42 pm
Chase Dammtor

i think the stata center is really neat.
doesn't every building leak a little?
isn't the building inspector supposed to look at the plans to make sure there's no grave errors?

Nov 6, 07 6:50 pm
le bossman

no, every building doesn't leak a little, no offense to mr. gehry. that's like saying "doesn't every oil tanker ship leak a little." besides the inspector doesn't in my experience check the plans so much as make sure what's constructed matches the plans.

Nov 6, 07 6:57 pm
le bossman

although i agree it is a cool building, though like all of gehry's works i can't say why

Nov 6, 07 6:58 pm
Sir Arthur Braagadocio

I have been to many gehry buildings including the vitra in germany and I can assure you the level of detailing is second rate. even the disney center which is a little better detailed than most is still on the mediocre side, as if the dtls were considered soemwhere around 95 percent completion of CDs.

I took photos of the strata center and psoted d them on archinect around 2 years ago on pda phone otherwise I would post. I show a shed roof with no gutter falling apart and brick veneer that really is veneer and not brick.

but if you consider gehrys history as an architect good detailing isn't anything he was known for, matter fact he made cheap materials hot, like chain link fence. he was even accidently considered a deconstructionist because of his cheap detailing.

but then you watch his documentary and its pretty clear he is on the model building design only end these days, so we will have to blame his hundreds of employees.

Nov 6, 07 7:07 pm
Ms Beary

actually lately, I just turn in a trace paper crumple model to the building department and they make sure it works!

Nov 6, 07 7:08 pm
le bossman

can someone from gehry's office please comment on this? what do you guys use for leak barriers? i would think a couple layers of self-healing bituminous membrane would easily solve this problem. but then again i haven't been on any commercial projects in a long time so i don't know what space age materials there are out there. maybe it's just dens glass. are there pictures of it under construction available?

Nov 6, 07 7:12 pm

i will give gehry benefit of doubt for mo. his buildings should not be the disaster this one seems to be, but i do wonder how much his office was involved in detailing. if it was his fault then he should stand up and take responsibility...or share it with contractor, which is likely more reasonable.

i absolutely do not think hok or similar would have made a building worth being in, whether it leaked or not. not an excuse for gehry but come on, calling the guy a 1 trick pony or a hack is pretty small. the man is clearly neither.

Nov 6, 07 8:13 pm

yup, my building leaks. The building I lived in before this leaked. The home I grew up in leaked. I've yet to see a perfect building.

I am curious why this is all showing up now. How long has this thing been there?

I'll also give him the benefit for now. While I think the MIT building is particularly ugly, I do like many of his buildings.

If the world's primary concern is leakage, then there would be no architecture out there. Should it leak? Of course not, but you always take some kind of risk with something unique.

Nov 6, 07 8:24 pm

Interesting that Cannon Design is not named in the suit since they were the associate architects and responsible (I believe) for the CDs and CA.

Nov 6, 07 8:38 pm
liberty bell
So, at times like these, I feel really stupid for preaching that architects are necessary on building projects. I have limited evidence of this, it's just a silly gut feeling that I rarely, if ever, get across, and have seriously doubted myself many times, many times a day that is.

I feel like this several times a day too, Ms. Beary, and yet I keep on clinging to that raft. Sigh.

Nov 6, 07 8:46 pm
Living in Gin

Gehry or HOK are the only two options? I think there's plenty of room within that spectrum for a building that has an innovative, beautiful design, and is yet well-detailed and keeps the elements out.

Nov 6, 07 9:23 pm

oh, why all the bloodthirst? This thread should have been named When Something Bad Happens To A Celebrity and it seems to have more to do with Gehry's status (which some of you seem so eager to see taking a blow) than anything else.

Nov 6, 07 9:24 pm
Sir Arthur Braagadocio

from my first visit to the MIT building.

frankly, i liked the white building across the street a lot more.

Nov 6, 07 9:27 pm

This isn't about blood thirst.. it's about comeuppance. When designers lose all sense of the craft when they acquire celebrity status, they deserve to be brought down, hard. If you want to see "failure" of basic architectural competence, go into the R&D cafe at the Stata Center, up to the cone room, and look up. Observe the cone. That sort of screwup isn't about bad workmanship or incompetent contractors.. it's about screwed up CDs. Or non-existent ones.

Nov 6, 07 9:55 pm

..."An executive at Skanska's Boston office said Gehry ignored warnings from Skanska and a consulting company before construction that there were flaws in the design"
Yea, I get those warnings every single day. If its not the usual crap you ask them to built, the GC and any "consulting company" will warn you. I can't hear it anymore. First Skanska underbids everybody else to get the job and then they turn against the architect because they can't handle the task. Not only do I blame the GC for being incapable but also the owner for not providing the necessary funds to built such a complex design. And don't tell me that $ 300 million is a lot for this type of building.

Nov 6, 07 9:57 pm
vado retro

even if the building was built perfectly it would still be ugly as hell.

Nov 6, 07 10:03 pm

I do agree with pluk though on the gc.. it sounds like Skanska's just covering its arse. Can it actually provide a paper trail about those "warnings" Gehry ignored? But I disagree that such behavior on the part of the GC in any way obviates the magnitude of Gehry's arrogance or his failure to live up any reasonable standard of architectural graft. I don't care how innovative or challenging your design process was... if the CDs suck, they suck. Oh, and pluk, $750-$800 a square feet in hard costs is a LOT of money, no matter how you cut it. Calatrava's museum addition in Milwaukee, which is easily as structurally innovative, was also built at the same price point, and I haven't heard any complaints. San Francisco's public library was $480. That funky skybox building in lower Manhattan was projected for $600.

Nov 6, 07 10:12 pm

sorry.. meant to say any reasonable standard of architectural "craft" .. not graft

Nov 6, 07 10:13 pm
Chase Dammtor

i heard calatrava in milwaukee was $1300/sf

Nov 6, 07 10:18 pm

hmm Chase.. hadn't heqard that one.. are you sure that isn't hard and soft and they just had a hard time procuring the land?

Nov 6, 07 10:18 pm

Then again, once you're sick of Gehry's building, you can go here and pray for better design (only a short walk away).

Nov 6, 07 10:23 pm

I love that chapel, Stag

Nov 6, 07 10:24 pm

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