Eavesdrop Issue 09_05.25.2004

Eavesdrop Issue 09_05.25.2004

Given what we’ve seen of some of his other projects, we expected Rem Koolhaas’ new student center at the Illinois Institute of Technology to already show signs of, uh, wear. But while we’ve learned that the reigning rhetoritect’s first completed American building has in fact suffered from a leaky roof, our visit last month to Mies’ campus found us more concerned about Helmut Jahn’s also-hyped new residence hall next door. EavesDrop’s undercover investigation into living conditions at the dorm, which opened last summer just weeks before Koolhaas’ structure, brought reports of waterlogged windows, faulty air conditioning, flaking floors and, with roughly double the rents of older campus housing, a whopping vacancy rate approaching 40 percent. An IIT rep confirms that HVAC filters had to be unclogged or replaced early on, and that several windows haven’t done their job. And this summer, much of the building’s concrete floorss which have proven no match for an aggressive army of chair castorsswill have to be refinished. Meanwhile, the school is offering such incentives as a month’s free rent and wireless Internet cards for students who return this fall, and the rep says that occupancy is looking up.


For months, we’ve tuned in to mounting chatter about Dia’s plans for its Chelsea galleries, which closed in January for structural upgrades. Speculating that Dia doesn’t need the facility (and its costs) now that it has its sprawling new Beacon outposttand that the gentrification of west Chelsea may prove unpalatable to an institution more inclined to out-of-the-way pilgrimagessart and museum world insiders keep fanning rumors that Dia may shutter its Manhattan home altogether. And now, we’ve heard rumblings that it’s trying to sell the building. However, a Dia spokesperson flatly denies all this, and insists that the institution expects to raise the $30 million it needs for both an endowment and the cost of construction, which reportedly will begin in the fall. It’s already added something to its coffers: Director Robert Altman has rented the facility for several months this summer, to shoot a movie about the art world called Paint.

We hear big staff changes are coming to Architecture magazine, with the recent resignations of assistant editor Julia Mandell, associate editor Anna Holtzman and publisher Suzanne Tron Haber. Mandell is headed to grad school and Holtzman is leaving to work on a film project, while Haber attributes the end of her four-year tenure to personal reasons.. Meanwhile, we’re getting wind of rumors, neither confirmed nor denied by editor-in-chief Chris Sullivan, that the magazine may be preparing for some kind of relaunch this fall.

If you’ve ever found the twists and turns of a Frank Gehry building to be a little confusing, you’re not alone. At a press event earlier this month at the architect’s characteristically contorted new Stata Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we listened in as a staffer described how Gehry made his exit after a luncheon that day on the building’s fourth floor. How do I get out to Vassar Street [which borders the site]?? we’re told Gehry asked. Um, if he can’t figure it outt

LET SLIP:achen@archpaper.com