Page D1.1 . 23 June 2004                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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Gehry at MIT

by Michael J. Crosbie

The latest installment in a billion-dollar construction program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has just opened on the Cambridge campus, and it's unlike anything else MIT has ever built.

The Ray and Maria Stata Center, designed by Frank Gehry, is a rambling collage of odds and ends that now houses three MIT departments: the Computer Sciences and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, and the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.

The researchers and scientists who work here pull apart the mysteries of language, intelligence, and human decision making, so Gehry's puzzle palace seems just the right setting for "pushing the envelope" of what we know. At Stata, the envelope is folded, torn, punched, warped, shredded, and crinkled.

Historians in the next century might conclude that this particular Gehry creation was a reflection of our collective social anxiety — a building with twists and tilts suggesting explosive alteration.

Gateway to Something New

The nearly three-acre (1.2-hectare) Stata Center is located at the northeast corner of the campus, which MIT has planned as a new gateway to the institute at the corner of Main and Vassar streets. This 720,000-square-foot (67,000-square-meter) assemblage announces MIT's presence and its renewed commitment to building landmark architecture.   >>>

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ArchWeek Image

The Ray and Maria Stata Center, on the MIT campus, by Frank Gehry, as seen from Vassar Street at dusk.
Photo: Andy Ryan

ArchWeek Image

An entrance to the Gates Building, one of two towers of the Stata Center.
Photo: Andy Ryan


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