Location: Cambridge, MA Massachusetts Institute of Technology The Ray & Maria Stata Center
Landscape Architects: The Olin Partnership Philadelphia PA
Project Architects: Gehry Partners, LLP Los Angeles CA
Contractor: The Welch Corporation Contractors
Project Dates: 2003
The Stata Center, opening in May 2004, is comprised of 120-feet/nine-story towers, with three additional levels below grade for services and parking. The Center houses the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Laboratory for Information Decision Systems, and the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, and will include the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. Building and the William H. Gates Building. The ambitious Stata Center is the latest project in what MIT terms “an evolving campus.”
Outdoors a series of interconnected plazas and gardens provide welcome relief from urban congestion and noise. Designed by Olin Partnership, in association with Gehry Partners, the outdoor spaces absorb some of the mass of the complex, provide additional space for work, relaxation, reflection and study and, in one terraced garden, house a necessary storm water retention basin.
Modular Gabion Systems stainless steel gabions were chosen to form the pond and to incorporate into the overall architectural theme. The stainless steel material offers unparalleled longevity while referencing Gehry’s cutting-edge building architecture; the stepped-face wall construction, typical of gabions, builds on the outdoor theme of terraced gardens. Contractors Welch Corporation installed 12 gauge stainless steel gabions from roll stock; building on-site from roll stock helped Welch achieve the clean, straight lines so important in this project while accommodating the varying setbacks specified. Flush cut blast rock was hand placed to complete the stunning visual effect.