A little more than a year after its splashy debut, the new harbor-side home of Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is looking less than watertight. Museum-goers this winter have observed leaks along the ceiling of the building’s top level where it joins the glazing of the curtain wall, and buckling of stucco under an exterior stair adjacent to the main entrance.
All buildings experience settling-in periods and require adjustments of one sort or another, and high profile buildings attract more scrutiny. But the ICA’s construction involved some bad luck, including the demise of its first construction firm, which contributed to delaying the building’s 2006 opening by several months. Experts note that the innovative design—the structure features a dramatically cantilevered gallery level—was challenging to build and that the unforeseen change in contractors complicated matters.