Ray and Maria Stata Center Landscape

Your Guide
Laura Tenny, ASLA

The eclectic landscape around MIT’s Ray and Maria Stata Center (Frank Gehry, architect) was designed by landscape architect Laurie Olin and was completed in 2004. Some of the interesting landscape elements include an amphitheater with trees planted among the stepped brick terraces, while above a lawn-and-brick-paved roof deck winds through some of the oddly-shaped “mini-buildings” of Stata.  Where the amphitheater now opens onto the adjacent 4-acre North Court, the Olin-design landscape had previously been constrained by an existing surface parking lot formerly on the site.

A noteworthy feature of this Olin landscape is an innovative storm water management system which culminates in a basin that provides bio-filtration and prevents storm water runoff from entering the city storm drain system.  Water is collected from roof and plaza drains at Stata and is piped to an underground cistern hidden below the gabion-walled basin. Rainwater stored in the cistern is used to irrigate plants and, after treatment with ultraviolet light, can supply up to 50,000 gallons of water to flush toilets in the Stata Center.

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