April 5th, 2004


Stata Center

So the Vatican team and I trundled around the Stata Center yesterday, including into what were probably a lot of spaces we weren't supposed to be in ("Hey, aren't we coming out that stairway that was locked when we tried to go in?"). Very strange building, but then, anyone in the vicinity of MIT knows that.

I think I can forgive it for being so strangely shaped, and for the ridiculous open spaces inside (though, I admit, I don't have to work there). There is an extent to which interesting architecture is a luxury, and three-floor atriums, and curving walkways through midair, and brushed-metal towers, are all luxuries. I can accept that they were trying for luxury architecture. I don't think it quite hit what it was trying for, but it was at least a worthy aspiration.

What I can't forgive it for is the PLYWOOD FURNITURE. There's all these benches scattered about. Made of nicely sanded, finished PLYWOOD. With all the little eye-shaped cutouts that make it blindingly obvious even from across the lobby that this is as-cheap-as-possible wood. Any pretense of this being high-end cool, luxury space goes right out the window. Now it just looks tacky.

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