CHICAGO (CN) – A self-proclaimed “world-class” engineering firm failed to properly design a 264,000 square-foot addition to the Art Institute of Chicago, causing more than $10 million in damages, the museum claims in Federal Court. Alleged design flaws include inadequate heating and cooling systems, cracked concrete subfloors and a “wavy” pedestrian bridge instead of the “sharp, knife-like” design specified by the architect.
The museum hired Ove Arup & Partners International to build a modern wing designed by prize-winning architect Renzo Piano. The modern wing project included galleries, classrooms, a sculpture terrace, an outdoor restaurant and a pedestrian bridge connecting the wing to Millennium Park.
The Art Institute claims the engineering firm’s faulty mechanical systems, specifically those controlling temperature and air quality, were “incapable of delivering air that met the standards for the safe display of artwork.”
Also, inadequate duct work caused sprinkler heads to freeze, according to the museum, and the concrete subfloors had to “undergo extensive repairs” due to “cracking, curling, and delamination.”
The firm’s specifications for the pedestrian bridge “produced an outside edge that was wavy and conflicted with the Architect’s aesthetic requirements,” the institute claims. It says the bridge had to be “substantially re-worked” at a “considerable cost.”
The institute also cites problems with the wing’s exterior, roof and structural design, and claims the firm “consistently underperformed,” causing “confusion and delay” that, in some cases, required finished work to be ripped out.
It adds that many of the firm’s engineering documents were “untimely, incomplete, and/or inaccurate.”
“Other engineering documents … were poorly coordinated which resulted in the construction work being performed in a less efficient, more time consuming and more costly manner,” the lawsuit states.
The museum wants Ove Arup to pay for the estimated $10 million in costs and expenses associated with the alleged design flaws.
It is represented by Jeffrey Winick with Stein, Ray & Harris.
The Art Institute of Chicago is seeking an undetermined amount of damages and is represented by Jeffrey Winick of Stein, Ray & Harris.