MIT sues Gehry, citing flaws in center

Nov. 7, 2007 at 12:21 PM

BOSTON, Miss., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Massachusetts Institute of Technology has sued architect Frank Gehry, claiming pervasive leaks, cracks and drainage problems in its $300 million Stata Center.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, accuses Gehry Partners LLP of Los Angeles of negligence and breach of contract in the design of the 430,000-square-foot academic complex, which houses laboratories, classrooms, offices and meeting rooms.

Gehry, whose firm was paid $15 million for the project, said he thought the issues were "fairly minor" and that "MIT is after our insurance."

Also named in the lawsuit -- filed in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston last week -- is the Stata Center's builder, Skanska USA Building Inc., a New Jersey subsidiary of Sweden's Skanska AB, The Boston Globe reported.

MIT's lawsuit says it paid $1.5 million to fix the center's 350-seat outdoor amphitheater, which MIT alleges has poor drainage and has experienced "considerable masonry cracking."

The suit also says "sliding ice and snow from the building's window boxes and other projecting roof areas (are) blocking emergency exits and damaging other building elements."

Gehry said "value engineering" -- eliminating project elements to cut costs -- was largely responsible for the problems.

"The client chose not to put certain devices on the roofs, to save money," he said.

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