Frank Gehry, whose daring and whimsical sheet-metal buildings all basically look the same, is being sued by MIT for flaws in his goofy $300-million design for their Stata Center. The center looks, in Gehry's words, "looks like a party of drunken robots," and MIT is apparently surprised that it might not have very good drainage or other things found on non-$300 million buildings that nonetheless have stood up quite well for some time without "masonry creaking" or what have you. Why did everything go wrong? Because fancy architecture is basically like extortion!

Mr. Gehry said "value engineering" — the process by which elements of a project are eliminated to cut costs — was largely responsible for the problems.

"There are things that were left out of the design," he said. "The client chose not to put certain devices on the roofs, to save money."

Yeah, you want a building where snow doesn't block the emergency exits? That's a three-hundred-fifty million dollar building right there, pal. For three-hundred mil we might leave out "certain devices."

You'd think that smarty-pants MIT might've noticed these huge design flaws before they started construction though? They couldn't let some of the engineering and design nerds take a peek at the blueprints?


Not everyone at MIT is upset. "It is a joy to work in this building," said Rodney Brooks, a professor of robotics. Drunk robotics.

M.I.T. Sues Frank Gehry, Citing Flaws in Center He Designed [NYT]