Stata Flood

There’s a funny joke about buildings designed by Frank Gehry. It goes something like this: first you pay millions of dollars to erect the thing, then you spend millions over many years to stop it from leaking. Having friends in the Ray and Maria Stata Center here at MIT, I’ve heard of a fair number of drips. So the water on the outside will eventually be kept outside. Yay for caulk. What happens to a Gehry building when it rains on the inside?

stata flood
The Stata gets wet

Last night the Stata Center witnessed a serious test of engineering when a fire alarm triggered the sprinkler system on the 4th floor. The water sprayed long enough that it began to collect and eventually find its way down to the ground floor. I was called in to document the situation:

Stata Flood Photos

The damage seemed pretty extensive, but I have no conception of what it takes to repair slabs of sheet rock that meet at a 124° angle constrained to a circle that intersecting a glass roof. Something tells me the materials are cheap but the rocket scientists who install it are expensive.

2 thoughts on “Stata Flood

  1. Isn’t there a point, semantically speaking, when a building–if it can’t keep the rain out (or in the case of Gehry’s EMP, if it kills people)–that it can’t really be called a building in the traditional sense.

    It becomes more of a sculpture you can walk around in.

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