Building Construction Mirrors Software Development

MIT filed a negligence lawsuit against architect Frank Gehry and construction company Skanska USA Building Inc, claiming â''design and construction failuresâ'' exist in its $300 million Stata Center that was opened in 2004, according to stories in the Boston Globe and New York Times. The Center opened to widespread praise by MIT.

Gehry has described as looking like "a party of drunken robots got together to celebrate," claims the issues are "fairly minor" and should be expected "in the design of complex buildings."

"These things are complicated and they involved a lot of people, and you never quite know where they went wrong. A building goes together with seven billion pieces of connective tissue. The chances of it getting done ever without something colliding or some misstep are small."

The executive vice president and area general manager of Skanska USA however, said that, "This is not a construction issue. Never has been." He claims that Gehry had rejected Skanskaâ''s formal request to change the design of the outdoor amphitheater, a source of the many of the problems; "We were told to proceed with the original design."

Gehry in turn, blamed cost-cutting by MIT: "There are things that were left out of the design.The client chose not to put certain devices on the roofs, to save money."

Doesn't this just sound like the aftermath of an IT project gone bad?


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City