It has been called crazy and labeled “Toontown.” Passersby refer to it as the building that looks as though it’s going to collapse. And Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell has described it as “a drunken barn dance as it might be represented in a Disney cartoon.” But no matter how it is characterized, MIT’s new Ray and Maria Stata Center for Computer, Information, and Intelligence Sciences will not be overlooked. “We understood that this would be controversial,” says John Guttag, head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). Staff, faculty, and students from one of the department’s labs-the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory-will occupy about 80 percent of the building. “It’s not because we wanted it to be unusual,” Guttag says. “It’s because unusual’ is required to support the desired functions.”The 66,000-square-meter structure, which will be dedicated May 7, was originally intended only to house about 1,000 people from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, and the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. The computer scientists and robotics researchers, in particular, had been occupying leased space off campus for some 40 years. In 1997, when quality-of-life issues arose… Read full this story
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