Ray and Maria Stata Center

Cambridge, Mass.
August 11, 2010

With its bent edifices, pop-eyed windows, and mangled mix of metallic shapes and appendages, Frank Gehry's surrealistic and thought-provoking design of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Computer, Information, and Intelligence Sciences is part Dr. Seuss, part hurricane aftermath.

To avoid what could have been an architectural perfect storm, two team members from the Boston office of general contractor and construction manager Skanska, along with two architects from Buffalo, N.Y., associate architect Cannon Design, spent a year in Gehry's Los Angeles office learning the CATIA electronic 3-D modeling system used to design the 713,000-sf Ray and Maria Stata Center. They then returned to Cambridge to work out of Skanska's onsite trailer.

"The planning and organizational process on the project is impressive—it had to be," says Building Team Project Awards juror Daniel Slack, SVP of Skokie, Ill., developer The Alter Group.

Because most of the construction documentation for major building systems (including the multiple exterior enclosures, structural steel, concrete, and millwork) were issued in CATIA, the subcontractors responsible for these trades were also required to use the demanding software.