We were in Cambridge, actually, an area I do not know well. The client offices were on the MIT campus and during the 20 minutes I had to myself I took a close look at the Frank Gehry-designed Ray and Maria Stata Center. The Stata Center houses MIT’s Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science Labs. I’m a fan of Gehry in general and this building is especially interesting. It looks as if it's about to collapse. Columns tilt at scary angles. Walls teeter, swerve and collide in random curves and angles. Materials change wherever you look: brick, mirror-surface steel, brushed aluminum, brightly colored paint, corrugated metal. Everything looks improvised, as if thrown up at the last moment. It’s a metaphor for the freedom, daring and creativity of the research that's supposed to occur inside it.
It was a mild summer day with temps in the 70s so it seemed that everyone in Boston with an urge to exercise outdoors was doing it along the river.
(Sidebar: We stopped briefly at UCLA en route home from Newport Beach. Many buildings were named: Jules Stein Eye Institute, Davies Children’s Center, Geffen Playhouse, Armand Hammer Museum. I don’t remember this from my Midwestern college days. Maybe it’s because the buildings were old and historic?)
The MIT campus is beautiful, a mix of old and new architecture and grassy open spaces. I kept hoping that the older, more historic buildings would be labeled so I’d know more about them without having to resort to Google later. This wasn’t the case.
Every time I come to Boston I remember how much I like it and hope one of our kids will go to school there. And then I remember that it’s 2,500 miles from where we live and that I’d miss them. It’s a good thing that I don’t get to make these decisions for them.
We had two amazing working dinners – the first at The Red Lantern, where the wait staff seemed to push the drinks more than the seafood-heavy Asian food – and the other at Al Dente, traditional, heavy Italian dishes in the North End.
On the way home I caught an earlier flight and the gate agent even waived the change fee as they were in a rush to close the doors and depart.