November 6, 2007

Suing the architect.

The building is incredibly cool, a showpiece. Check out these pics of the Stata Center at MIT, designed by Frank Gehry. But MIT is suing, "charging that flaws in his design... one of the most celebrated works of architecture unveiled in years, caused leaks to spring, masonry to crack, mold to grow, and drainage to back up."

Do you want a wild and crazy building dreamed up by an artist? Stop and think whether all the less strange buildings look the way they do for a reason.


Fred Drinkwater said...

My daughter spends a fair bit of time in Stata - I'll have to ask her about how it handles the winter.

Original Mike said...

It's a twofer. It leaks, and it's ugly as sin.

Telecomedian said...

Frank Lloyd Wright is considered the finest American architect, and yet most of his buildings have leaks and cracks due to the strange angles and joints. It's part of the FLW "charm." MIT got what they paid for - a work of art. If they wanted a purely functional building, they could have selected a much more traditional design firm.

Wouldn't MIT don't have some students who could develop an advanced polymer to protect the building in exchange for class credit?

vnjagvet said...

In one of the links provided in the post, MIT makes much of its mission as an "architectural lab".

Considering the revolutionary (and oddly shaped)designs, why the surprise that the buildings leak?

Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Houses, and other projects like Falling Waters were notoriously leaky. That was one of the prices the proud owners paid for living in artwork.

All could have afforded conventionally built homes, but liked the cachet of a Wright-designed home. Leaking came with the territory.

The number of lawsuits against the great master for defective design has not been well-documented.

vnjagvet said...


We cross-commented. Sorry for the apparent repetition of your point.


ricpic said...

When Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending A Staircase was shown at the 1913 Armory Show it was rightfully derided by a still sane culture as "an explosion in a shingle factory." Now we have one of our elite institutions of higher learning buying into its architectural equivalent to the tune of $300 mil.
To quote the late great Jean Shepherd: Excelsior, you fatheads!

Original Mike said...

The difference, of course, is Wright buildings were usually beautiful. The Stata Center is not.

Eli Blake said...

That's the difference between American lawyers and lawyers from other parts of the world.

In America, somebody asks for something unique, then they sue when the revolutionary new concept turns out to be less than revolutionary.

In Pakistan, the lawyers are risking their lives to try and start a revolution.

Revenant said...

It isn't beautiful, but it IS cool-looking. It seems appropriate for an institution entirely populated by geeks.

Ron said...

Looks like a variant on his "Fred and Ginger" building in Prague...leaks, and derivative too boot!

Original Mike said...

I don't know, Rev. Cool is in the eye of the beholder.

To my eye it looks like the Marina District after the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Joe said...

I find the Stata center to be incredibly ugly in the Vomitose School of Architecture way. A year or so ago, I saw a science show that partly took place in one of the large office rooms. It was laughably impractical.

Who's taking bets on when it will be imploded?

(Incidentally, some of the problems with Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings would never had happened had he listened to his engineers, but he was too arrogant.)

BTW, why do people keep saying this place is revolutionary? It's just a bunch of mindless crap thrown together with the purpose of looking "provocative."

Laura Reynolds said...

To my eye it looks like the Marina District after the Loma Prieta earthquake.

My thought exactly.

Hey said...

It's just more of the same "artiste" posing by architects. The propagandise against "sheds" and for "ducks", denounce traditional forms as "ahistorical pastiche", "neo-traditionalism", etc. It is the Marxist continual revolution applied to the built environment.

Talk to a builder and you'll find that they are some of the most conservative people in the world. The see time and again what a reckless disregard for tradition can do. Conservative practices and slow evolutions are far superior to these architect led revolutions.

The essential people for the success of any building design are not the architects or engineers (though they are necessary), it is the tradesmen who put it all together that make buildings work. They hone their skills and acquire vast reservoirs of implicit knowledge - undocumented tricks necessary to get a weld right, make a roof fully leakproof.

Building is still very much a craft, despite how much science is involved. When you want a unique design, or one of the first 5 large structures of a given type, then you have no craft knowledge to fall back on. You are instead building a prototype. All of the design software from Dassault won't help - new military planes use MANY prototypes before the first operational one is delivered, and it is to work the kinks out of the production process as much as it is to test the aircraft design itself. Making only the prototype of the building equivalent of an F-22 is just asking for trouble, and MIT got what they asked for.

Palladian said...

Gehry is not an architect. He designs shapes on a computer and has other people figure out how to build them. He puts holes in them so people can enter, if they really want to. But he's not really interested in that part of the project.

Architecture is architecture. Sculpture is sculpture. It's fashionable to transgress the boundaries, so to speak but at the end of the day, architecture is what you live in, sculpture is what you live with.

That said, this is a silly lawsuit. Why don't they just sue the structural engineer or the builders? Didn't they know what they were getting into?

Buildings decay, things decay. It's a fact of nature. Deal with it.

Dale B said...

We know how to build tight buildings with right angles and a minimum of protrusions, at least if the contractor does the job correctly. If you depart from the standard, you're asking for trouble.

It looks like part of it fell down during construction and they just left it that way.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
halojones-fan said...

I dunno. I like it. I wouldn't exactly like to see an entire city built that way, but I like the building.

The lawsuit is not entirely without merit. MIT, presumably, paid the architect with the intent that he build something lasting; a building with a unique look, but the same durability as a conventional design. If the architect just threw a bunch of crap together with no thought for how such an extreme design would handle weather and age, then they may well have a financial claim.

The architect can easily refute these claims by showing that his design was up to the code (or, at least, what the code was in those days.)

Palladian said...

And don't read my criticism as a reactionary diatribe against the damned "moderns". It's sort of tiresome at this point to rabbit on about Marcel Duchamp. Some of my favorite buildings were quite "cutting edge", things that make Gehry look like a second-rate fun-house designer, things built 45 years ago without the aid of a computer.

rhhardin said...
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rhhardin said...

leaks to spring, masonry to crack, mold to grow, and drainage to back up.

Lots of people don't realize that subjects of non-finite verbs are in the objective case, just like in Latin.

Add Birds to fly, fish to swim.

Titusdj said...

Used to bike by it everyday. Very cool smooshed in between all the old buildings.

I did it in an MIT bathroom once.

Titusdj said...

The bathroom I did it in at MIT was next to a chorus room. Who knew they had chorus class in MIT?

It was very romantic though, porcelain and Mozart.

Titusdj said...

That area of Cambridge is very cool. Central Square/Mass Ave/Amgen/Biogen/Novartis/Shire/Millenium/Akamai/Forrester/Genzyme/Vertex and tons of money.

I love money.

Toscaninis Ice Cream/Cuchi Cuchi/Salts/Some bar with Science in it's name/Cinderellas/Emilys/ yum good food.

Also, the Paradise Gay Bar is right around the corner. They have strippers there every night and are totally nude.

Titusdj said...

fYI-everyone of those companies lost an employee on one of the planes on 9/11

Titusdj said...

Oh and Forrester Research-they tell us what we are going to use in terms of technology in the future.

Richard Dolan said...

Palladian notes that "Gehry is not an architect. He designs shapes on a computer and has other people figure out how to build them." That may describe Gehry's personal role, but almost certainly not his firm's. The article notes that Gehry's firm was paid $15 MM (5% of total construction cost of $300 MM).

The whimsical Alice-in-Wonderland quality to the building is pure eye candy, but I'm not sure it will age well (the design, as well as the building). The child in all of us eventually grows up, and leaves Alice-in-Wonderland behind. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has used the building.

Palladian invites a comparison with the old TWA terminal at JFK (closed for years because it's unworkable as a terminal; Palladian links to a pix of it), and he could have thrown in as well Ingalls Rink (less than ideal as a hockey rink), both by Saarinen. I agree that the Saarinen is stronger. Innovative design is great; better still if it is functional. But anyone commissioning a building like this (or Ingalls or TWA ...) knows in advance they are giving up some functionality to get a striking design.

While maintaining the design's integrity may require some tradeoffs with functionality, I don't see why it should also require a similar tradeoff with basic quality of construction. That's what MIT is mostly complaining about -- the article mentions leaks, poor drainage and the like as the actual complaints, and none of that is part of the "design" at all. It's just poor construction. Almost any major construction project these days -- from the most boring "big box" to flashy stuff like this MIT building -- ends up in litigation like this. Nothing special about Gehry or innovatively designed buildings in that regard.

vnjagvet said...

Unless it was a design-build, Richard, I suspect the general contractor and subs will blame the defects to design errors (they were just following those pesky plans and specs), and the architect and engineers will blame the unskilled boobs who built the damn thing.

Thirty years of construction defect litigation tells me that's about the way it will go.

The owner will let the lawyers earn their fees for a while, and the carriers will eventually get their heads together and pay up.

Ultimately, a good mediator will get this settled. It should be a great assignment. I recommend someone from Roger Fisher's Harvard Negotiation Project although I would sure love to work on it.

MadisonMan said...

You'd think that some of the MIT Architectural Engineers would have suggested that a building so constructed couldn't be watertight. Perhaps MIT should sue itself.

AllenS said...

I'm left wondering how many paintings done by Picasso does Frank Gehry own?

Titusdj said...

My recollection of the MIT restroom was that it was somewhat cold and not as welcoming as other places I have done it.

We ended up moving to some lecture hall that was pitch black but it had carpet which felt more homey.

Mr. B. said...


Frank Gehry is not an architect?

We've got a Gehry building on our campus - sort of a study for Bilbao - it doesn't leak.

I once heard a talk by Julie Snow, an architect who likes flat roofs. Someone ask her in the Q&A if she was worried about weathering of her buildings.

"My roofs don't leak!" was her response.

Maybe next time MIT should hire her.



KCFleming said...

The nonproductive work of lawyers are here reditributing the moneys spent on actually making something. MIT obtains a net price reduction, the architects get a net fee cut, and the difference is transferred directly to the attorneys.

Wouldn't it be easier just to creat a law tax, agree to forego an actual suit, and just shovel the price reductions into a legal slush fund without all that fuss and bother?

Titusdj said...

Now that I think about it they had music practice rooms around the bathroom.

I was really surprised that there were music classes at MIT and all these students tooting on their horns. It wasn't just singing it was also a bunch of instrumental stuff going on there.

I will try to rack my brain with more details of the experience for everyone.

Titusdj said...

I remember it was the main building on Mass Ave right after you get off the Mass Ave Bridge on the left.

There were many pushcarts around serving Indian, Korean, Chinese, etc.

I never trust those pushcarts but some of my friends said a few of them were amazing. I was too nervous to eat something out of a steal truck.

Titusdj said...

Sorry I was mistaken the building was on the right the building on the left is that dome they always are able to somehow get a car on top of.

One of the dorms across the street had and Israeli flag-I do remember that.

Titusdj said...

I also remember quite a few Indians and Chinese with a smattering of caucasions.

Titusdj said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Titusdj said...

Oh now I remember more, we didn't have anything to clean ourselves up so we used the chalkboard erasers.

Titusdj said...

And lastly I remember we didn't speak until it was over and when he opened his mouth a purse fell out.

Thank God he didn't speak before we did it because that voice would of been a total immediate softie for me.

mtrobertsattorney said...

It's time for a shield law to protect artists like Gehry.

Who cares if the building leaks, has mold and the drainage backs up? And so what if the masonary is cracking? It's a work of art first and foremost. Its so-called "flaws" are an inherent part of its creative and artistic merit.

The solution is not to sue a creative artist; just stop using the building!!

Or, if the philistines at MIT still insist on treating this work as a functional building, awaken to the realization that the water and mold dripping on professors and students is simply a never-ending exhibition of performnace art generously donated by Gehry to the MIT community at no extra cost.

Titusdj said...

Now that I think about it I think he told me he was from Madagascar, formerly the Malagasy Republic. I may of spelled it incorrectly but I think that is what he said.

We ended up walking down Mass Ave after it was over and I felt very unsatisfied listening to him speak. I didn't say much I just listened to him and realized that I didn't like him and didn't want to be walking with him. I was walking my bike but I thought I would be polite and walk with him because his apartment was on my way home.

When I got to his home he asked if I wanted to stay over. I said no. I then could smell curry coming from his apartment as he opened the door.

Titusdj said...

One time I did another guy from MIT who was some kind of cook/chef there and lived in the bowels of one of their kitchens.

It was awful. He asked me if I wanted a soda and I said yes and he then asked me for $1.00.

His "soda" came from an actual soda machine that we had to get to by walking through the MIT kitchen.

Needless to say, I was slumming it that night.

Also, I remember there was a laundry room right next to his bed, which was on the floor, and I heard people changing laundry from washer to dryer all night.

Titusdj said...

I never forget when he asked me if I wanted to go to his "house". He said it was by MIT...not in MIT.

We are walking over there and all of sudden we are at this huge MIT building. I said where is your apartment and he pointed to some cellar door around the back of the building. That's when I found out he didn't go to MIT but worked at MIT. I was mortified...but horny. A normal person would of left but I thought what the hell.

The night I met him it was loud and I was kind of drunk and I thought he said he "went" to MIT which made me immediately intrigued. But no he worked there as a cook and lived there in this little room by the kitchen.

He had two little kittens that looked like they were barely alive in this one room.

The clinker is he had this awful poster of some guy shirtless holding two tires that said, "All Men Are Not Created Equal"-totally yuck. I don't want to see any prints of naked or shirtless men in another guys "room".

He also had a picture of himself in a bubble bath on a milk crate double yuck. Total immediate softie.

We tried to fool around but I kept on seeing that picture of him in a bubble bath and the cats were circling us like vultures.

I got up left, walked back through the kitchen and back home.

That was depressing.

Titusdj said...

The only thing in his room was a futon on the floor, some dirty magazines, a CD Player, with porno in it, the poster, alarm clock and poppers.

His "closet" and "bathroom" were through the laundry room.

I usually like to inspect the wardrobe to seeing what I am working with but I knew what I was working with when we got to the MIT Building. Just for laughs I asked where his closet was and he told me it was on the other side of the laundry room.

God that was awful.

garage mahal said...

I know off topic - but credit must go to Ann with a strong showing [with some stiff competition I might add] at Washington Monthly's Golden Wingnut Award. Kudos Ann!

Palladian said...

Richard- good points, all. However I did link to the Ingalls Rink- I have a personal affinity for that building, since I lived directly across the street from it during my time at Yale.

I would also add that the TWA terminal and Ingalls Rink were perfectly useful- for when they were built. In the case of the TWA terminal, the problem came later, as the scale and volume of air travel increased beyond the capacity that the building was designed to handle. In the case of the rink, a similar problem; college hockey became a much bigger sport and the audience swelled beyond the small rink's capacity to accommodate, though I've never heard any complaints about the rink other than that (like so many other buildings at Yale and elsewhere) it wasn't well maintained until recently.

Larry Sheldon said...

The tragedy of Stata is obvious by inspection, the tragedies of FLW are not.

The construction of Falling Waters destroyed and made inaccessible the very thing about the site that had been attractive.

Titusdj said...

I also did it in the basement bathroom of the College of Liberal Arts at BU.

Titusdj said...

I tried to a BC but didn't have any luck-it was dead there and too far to go-too much work.

I also did it at the YMCA on Huntington Avenue by Northeastern.

Never at Emerson or at Harvard. I always had to travel and didn't want to be seen on my home turf.

Never at Tufts-again too far out.

Oh I did go to UMass Boston once but again no luck.

Titusdj said...

After I went to UMass Boston and had no luck I said why waste the T Ride so I ended up going to the JFK Library.

Never at Mass College of Art.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Interesting point on Wright- it was his later work that really pushed the envelope (and the possibilities of the materials), but his early work was more conservative; with the exception of Falling Water. The Johnson Building is an example; Wright pushed the materials past their (then) limits, hence a solid concrete roof that still somehow leaks.

Palladin- Your first link is a building I know well, and I agree with you assessment of its pushing the design envelope without leaving the engineering behind. The place is now over 70 years old and still structurally sound.

Also in Cincinnati the University recently finished the new Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, ( also by Gehry; it resembles the mess a drunken epileptic would have built out of old Play-Doh. Whether it leaks or not I don't now, but I can't imagine using the building; it probablay contains hundreds of unusable square feet.

I also remember when This Old House visited the Stata Center building a few years ago. Although the foks were praising it quite liberally, the lack of usable space was apparent to anybody watching carefully. Banker boxes were stacked in every available nook, as there were no storage facilities in the building, and the lack of interior walls meant in order to create a 'space' all kind of junk was used to deliniate an area for the different disiplines.

Nice to look at, in some eyes (not mine), and impractiacl in everybodies. It would be humorous, if it weren't my money.

Titusdj said...

Never at Suffolk.

Never at Lesley.

Never at Cambridge College

Simmons-obviously no-all girls school-but they have great buildings. I gave a presentation there once. Right on Comm Ave. The buildings were gorgeous.

Palladian said...

Titus, do you masturbate when you're telling us these little stories about your sex life? Because sometimes I get the feeling that it's a little like the thrill someone gets from making obscene phone calls, or from (literally, physically) exposing themselves in public.

I used to think they were just wish fulfillment fantasies, but there's something elegiac about them, something desperate and depressing. Of course, they're not without charm, and I am sure there are people who enjoy reading them. But I would suggest perhaps confining them to the "coffeehouse" posts because they sort of get in the way of the discussion of the topic at hand. Maybe Althouse can be persuaded to put up a sexual experiences post...

Titusdj said...

I would go to BU's Case Athletic Center and see what I was worth.

The place was crazy busy. I would try and work out there but it was so difficult to leave the locker room once you got there.

I decided to stop going there because I wasn't working out, just going straight for the sauna.

Titusdj said...

I know you don't believe me Palladian but they are true.

No I don't masturbate while I tell these stories. I am fully dressed

I found them more humorous now then sexual. I think they are funny.

Speaking of which one time I went to the Fens in Boston which is a notorious place for you know what and there was actually a guy walking around the "yum yum tree" saying "dildo's, poppers".

It was a sales representative for dildos and poppers selling his wares while he was surrounded by debauchery.

He had "testing" bottles of the poppers so his customers could decide whether or not they were to their satisfaction.

Also, there was another guy selling bandanas and he actually affixed the bandanas to a fence in the park attached to a jean pocket with the "key" to what they meant and the price tag for the bandanas.

I thought it was hilarious.

Not sexual in a stimulating way but absolutely funny.

Dildos, poppers.

Palladian said...

Strange, looking at the Stata Center again (the aerial view) suggests another Saarinen precursor: Stiles-Morse College at Yale. Although flawed in many ways, the idea of a building a complex of college buildings as a mannered vignette of a medieval Italian town was brilliant; I always enjoyed walking through it on my way home.

Titusdj said...

And there were actual guys surrounded the bandana salesmen looking at the bandanas while people were doing it five feet away.

It was so bizarre that I couldn't stop laughing about it.

By the way I did apologize to you.

I got to walk the dogs.
Dildo...Poppers-that's funny, at least all my friends thought it was.

Palladian said...

Dildos sell themselves.

"Poppers", however, are disgusting.

dick said...

I remember reading an article about a couple who were both architects and were known for their state of the art, far out buildings. The last half of the article was about their office and home which was in a big old Victorian, "painted lady" type home built in the 1880's in a Philadelphia suburb. They evidently didn't want to live in what they designed for others to live in.

Palladian said...

"By the way I did apologize to you."

Noted. Appreciated.

Palladian said...

"They evidently didn't want to live in what they designed for others to live in."

I don't blame them. I don't have any of my own work hanging in my house. It's nice to be able to escape.

Architects don't want to live in their own houses. The best thing for them is to design a house and make your mother live in it. (I love the Vanna Venturi House, by the way)

Titusdj said...

By the way Palladian I couldn't make this crap up-I am not that creative.

These stories are true-all my friends know about them or have been with me when many of them happened.

We laugh about them, really laugh about them. I repeat I don't find anything exciting or stimulatin about them.

I actually go out and meet someone for my stimulation-not by making up stories on the internet or by speaking with someone on the phone-that does not interest or excite me.

I want the real thing.

Titusdj said...

I'll let you guys be...enjoy the architect talk.

I have been by that building many times and I understand how you would call it and some of his designs like the ones in Denver as "circusy" but it is pretty cool how that building was placed right in the middle of all those other buildings at MIT. You have boring building after another and all of a sudden this creation-the dichotomy of the two styles is what I think makes it so outrageous.

vnjagvet said...

With Titus around it is tough to keep up an on point conversation.

He might get a lot out of having his own website for all those riffs. What do you think?

Ann Althouse said...

Titus, I had to delete a comment. Don't say things about identifiable individuals.

david leaner said...

On and off topic:

Excoriate any architect for his or her failures and insults as a designer of public buildings and sites that go wrong- he/she should be most sorry for mistakes and intentional slights to the good people who must live around and use places with shoddy or foolishly daring construction that cause problems. But the architect and his/her engineers and contractors also should be allowed to apologize and to try to fix the problems. They are only human, after all, and make mistakes or can mess things up. Too, appearances can be deceiving-- what looked good on paper and in theory sometimes backfires in real life. Better to admit and fix than resort to the bloody courts.

Speaking of which, this commenter is wondering where Buddy is. As great as the Althouse threads are, he always manages to add zip, balance and a little sanity to any discussion on the net. Confession here: I fear, at some point, I mispoke and intentionally said the wrong things to him and to a very special friend of his and am most sorry for it. If he were to comment here, again, I would like to tell him/ them how contrite I feel for acting pretty stupid to a genuinely good guy and his friends. He'll say it's not necessary, but he's generous that way. Hope he forgives all.

XWL said...

Architects don't want to live in their own houses

Gehry, himself, being a notable exception.

I occasionally walk my dog by his house, even took a few snaps once.

His biggest project to date would be a massive development condo/hotel/retail project across from Disney Hall on Grand Ave. in Los Angeles. The models fill me with dread as to what the finished product will look like.

Anonymous said...

Lets see what YOUR "architecture" is like, my dear Ann:
someone suggested you pose in a tub with soap bubbles over your nipples on a videoblog. As far as I'm concerned, I'd like to see you on a videoblog tub or bubbles or whatever. Think you can arrange that ?
By the way, my uncle and godfather used to live in Marin County(north of San Francisco), so I spent some happy days there- abouts.


Mark Clifford said...

My law school (Loyola Los Angeles) was designed by Gehry. I have been impressed by how functional the design is. The nearby Disney Concert Hall is a masterpiece of acoustics, sight lines and useful public spaces. Those who think Gehry just tries to make things to look at do him a disservice and have probably never been inside one of his buildings. That being said, a cool looking building should no more leak than a an ugly one. If the leaking was designed in (unlikely, but possible) the designer should be held responsible.


Meade said...

"By the way, my uncle and godfather used to live in Marin County(north of San Francisco), so I spent some happy days there-abouts, freely spray painting cryptic graffiti messages on beachfront retaining walls and daydreaming about a fella I once met in a leaky MIT bathroom with poor drainage."

PeterP said...

Simple test for a building - is it straightforward to find the right roofspace from which to throw yourself off?

If you have to struggle to find the suicide vantage point then it's neither functional nor arty.

Ralph L said...

Titus, how big is it?
The Gehry MIT building, I mean. It doesn't look big enough in the photos to justify the enormous price tag.

a guy walking around the "yum yum tree" saying "dildo's, poppers".

Singing cockles and muscles, alive, alive, ho.

Joan said...

It would be humorous, if it weren't my money.

I'm confused by this remark. MIT is not a public institution -- it is not part of the Universities of Massachusetts. It's private. So, unless you've ponied up a juicy donation to MIT, it's not your money.

The more time that passes since I graduated from the 'tute, the less I like it. The Larry Summers business was precipitated by an MIT professor with the vapors, and I haven't given them a dime since. Now it seems as if they've decided to start a trend of doing very public, very stupid things, when really, they ought to know better.

The Stata is interesting-looking but sounds difficult to actually use, and for a prestigious university to choose form over function seems like a rather large misstep. Ah, well -- I doubt any of my children will go there. I shouldn't let it bother me as much as it does.

Unknown said...

Ann - Are you aware that New York City has one Gehry building on the West Side Highway? And we're getting a couple of more, Miss Brooklyn and the Beekman Tower. The Beekman Tower will be 75 stories and his first skyscraper!

Of course - people are protesting both. Blah.

Ralph L said...

I must be channelling Imus. The song (Molly Malone) went "alive, alive, oh", not "ho" (which is more fitting for Titus' story).

Maxine Weiss said...


1. Provide a service people are willing to pay for.
2. Get paid
3. If not paid enough, go back to step 1.


Maxine Weiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From Inwood said...

The Emperor's New Clothes....

Where's Trooper York with dialog from "The Fountainhead"?

Fallingwater is falling down....

Palladian I like with your selections.

How about the prefiguring Ghery St Louis Priory or Wright's Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church?

Christy said...

Looks like something from the 70s in a George Jetson mold to me.

Does Brunelleschi's Dome leak?

After reading Goldberger's Up From Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York I was left with the impression that celebrity architects rarely care if their buildings actually function. I'm glad to hear Mark say that isn't necessisarily the case.

From Inwood said...

Form Follows Propaganda

See the WSJ article today on the "outlandish" Beijing building for its TV Station.

Mao must be spinning in his grave. His heirs have sold out to capitalistic architecture.

Trooper, please, a snippet of dialog from The Fountainhead, movie or book!

Telecomedian said...

vnjagvet - no big deal. Our comments were about 1 minute apart on the time stamp.

Great minds think alike and whatnot... :)

Richard Fagin said...

This MIT grad says the most important fairy tale you can pass on to your children is "The Emperor's New Clothes." If ever a structure was a worthy object of that tale, the Stata Center is it. Only in this variant, the little boy cries, "That building is an ugly piece of sh*t!"

I'm reminded of a $40,000 (this was 1978) sculpture that the Univ. of Mass. bought, to the chagrin of some of its students. A UMass history professor admonished said students for commenting about the sculpture when they "did not know anything about art." The professor went on to say that he in fact knew quite a bit about art, and the sculpture in question was a "piece of sh*t."

I used to just say "John Deutsch" as a reason to refuse when MIT called asking for money. If you thought he stunk as CIA director, you should have taken physical chemistry from him, the butthead. He was even more arrogant as Chancellor of MIT. Now I can just say "Stata Center."

Joan said...

Christy's question about Bruschelli's Dome triggered a memory -- MIT has previous experience with avant garde designs leading to real-life problems when the buildings are finished. Kresge Auditorium's roof has leaked since day one, but MIT never filed suit against Saarinen. I love how the wikipedia entry ignores even a hint of negativity related to the building. It does look very cool, but it's generally recognized as a sacrifice to form over function.

The I.M. Pei building is another example of dysfunctional architecture at MIT, up on its stilts and positioned perfectly to channel the winds coming off the Charles River and Memorial Drive.

Kev said...

One of my favorite pieces of weird architecture was the "Indeterminate Fa├žade Building" that we used to pass by on the way to the beach when I was a kid. A picture may be found here (you may have to click a few times to see it; it's the one in Houston, built in 1974).

From Inwood said...


Dunno if this post is still operable, but let me add re MIT: I don't care for Saarinen’s chapel either. Looks like the bottom end of a satellite which sank somewhat into the sand.

Unknown said...

Went to MIT myself; won't give them money because of Dean Wadleigh. I have a long memory.

But that's beside the point. Here I am in Minneapolis, and here is the Weisman Art Museum, designed by Gehry, and ugly as sin. Ugly on the outside, that is; the inside is fairly bland. You can tell there's a lot of empty space between inner and outer surfaces.

My one commandment for architectural sanity would be simple: the shape of the inside MUST match the shape of the outside. Let the customers put up with the cattywampus walls they are inflicting on the outside environment, and see how they like it.

Unknown said...

Here at C.A all architect wear stacy adams suits instead of professioanl suit.