Saturday, November 17, 2007

Frank Gehry, I must sue you for your disasterpiece.

This is a little bit old news, but MIT is suing architect Frank Gehry for continuing leaks and construction problems in their $300+ million Stata Center.

Now, I'm somewhat inclined to throw Mr. Gehry under the bus. His fanciful-schmanciful design aesthetic may look really cool, but those swooping curves and angles make it really hard to flash and seal things up the same way you do in a building made of lots of clean and/or simple angles or fewer curves. Hence, I'm not surprised at all that the building is having leakage and slab cracking problems. In the NY Times article, Gehry states that MIT is "after [his] insurance money." Okay, fine.  I've heard that very complicated buildings often take out insurance policies just to be safe. Having worked on much less complicated buildings than either the DAM addition or the Stata, I find the idea rather intelligent and as demonstrating foresight. Sounds like Mr. Gehry should have done the same, if he hadn't already. But let's step back to the design process itself: if Franky-baby is going to be willing to design such weirdness, he's going to have to doubly stand behind it and vouch for the quality of said design. By quality of design, I mean a wide range of things, including how well it satisfies the program, how physically comfortable the space is, how easy it is to heat/cool, and how well it keeps out the elements.

However....

I have to go up to the board of MIT and the Stata Center, grasp them firmly by the shoulders, and then shake the living crap out of them. And as I shook them, I would ask in a loud voice, "Have you not seen the kind of Pink-Floyd-and-Demerol-nightmare shit that Gehry designs?!?!?!" Because, frankly, if Gehry didn't take leak/fuck-up insurance out, then MIT shoulda. I mean, did they seriously not know what they were getting? And frankly, if ANY of them have ever built a building, they would know that there are ALWAYS a few problems. Even know as I type this, there's a weird leak in a wall in Wheatlands. Our assumption is that part of the VE (value-engineering) process removed some insulation around some roof drain pipes. Now, condensation is forming on those pipes and seeping through the walls. Likewise, Gehry is asserting in his defense that the cracking and problems are the result of VE measures, which were supposed to save them money on the front end, but alas, as VE often does, it costs money in the long run.

So, I fall on both sides of this lawsuit. I think it should be resolved through a karaoke sing-off. Tiebreaker song: ABBA's "Dancing Queen."

6 comments:

St. Blogwen said...

What a brilliant idea for a reality show! Famous/prominent people settling monstrous big lawsuits by means of karaoke sing-offs! And America Can VOTE!

(Do we make the principals sing, or their attorneys?)

Mile High Pixie said...

Oh, St. Blogwen, the principals, definitely. Attorneys want the attention too much, and they'd double bill their clients.

Charlotte said...

I would totally watch a show like that. It would be better than American Idol.

Miss Kitty said...

That would be an awesome show. I want to see Frank gehry shake his ass as he sings Kool & the Gang's "Celebration."

Mile High Pixie said...

If Michael Graves was on, he could cover "Mr. Bojangles" a la Sammy Davis Jr. (Inside joke, I'll post on it later.)

faded said...

When I was in college in Washington DC, the East wing of the National Gallery of Art was opened. It was and still is a magnificent building.

I remember it leaked A LOT when it opened. I do not know what they did but they got it fixed. Everyone screamed and yelled but the building was eventually fixed.

Some designs however just beg for trouble, especially when someone wants a trophy building.