At the university where Diogo worked, the Computer Science program outgrew its status as an unloved child of the Mathematics department. It was to become its own department, and that meant it finally deserved its own building. Since the university in question had a very strong architecture program, the university searched for the biggest names to design the building.

Enter Laurent. He flew in to consult and prepare designs for the building; he was fresh off a project in Dubai and his next port-of-call was Tokyo. He was a name that could name names. The exterior renders he provided were stunning, full of glass and sweeping lines. The designs leapt up on a desk, stomped their feet and screamed, "I AM MODERN AND TECHNOLOGICLYISH!" To the casual spectator, they were fantastic. As Diogo discovered, when you actually had to live in the building, things got much worse.

"I assume," Diogo said during one conference with Laurent, "there will be some sort of freight elevator? The server room we're moving in involves a great deal of heavy equipment, after all."

"No, no!" Laurent smiled like he was revealing a fabulous Christmas gift. "There is no need. You see, there is an access door on the south wall, with a ramp into the basement. Your computers can go in through there."

"Well, yes," Diogo agreed, "but how are we going to move them up to the server room?"

"Up? There is no up! The server room is in the basement. Nothing heavy need go upstairs; we have no need for a freight elevator."

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Diogo said. He explained the unique geography of the region.

Laurent extolled the virtures of his choice. It would be easy to move equipment in and out of. The naturally cooler basement would be cheaper to keep cool, reducing the costs of running a large server farm. The lack of a freight elevator would reduce the initial construction costs. Diogo continued his protests, carrying his case before the dean and eventually the university president, but their response was simple: "Laurent is a world class architect. He knows what he's doing. What buildings have you designed?"

Laurent came with a stack of designs and left with a gigantic check for his efforts. The CS department moved into their new building while the president gave his ribbon cutting speech. For most of the summer session, things were sunny and bright, and the new building worked out spectacularly. Shortly before the fall semester kicked into full swing, it rained. It kept raining for a full week, at rates ranging from a drizzle to a torrent. By the third day, Diogo was looking into renting a gondola for his commute. By the fourth, the water table rose and filled basements across the entire county.

Diogo's home was well prepared for this sort of flooding, common to the region. The basement was unfinished, the furnace was on blocks, and an emergency drain shunted the flood waters into the storm sewers. The new CS building wasn't so fortunate. As Diogo waded through the waist deep muck and murk in the basement, Jacques Cousteau swam between his legs, searching for the mysterious creatures of the deep ocean. Anything in the server room that had been below shoulder height had at least some water damage; anything below waist height was a complete loss. In the darkened room, Diogo feared that at any moment an upsurge of water would dash him against the ceiling and drown his unconsious body.

"…which is exactly what I warned you about," Diogo told the dean. It was impolitic, but honest.

The flood dampened the president's enthusiasm for the new building. Diogo and the other stakeholders sat down to plan a solution that would minimize downtime and get servers running for the CS labs before the fall semester started. Diogo proposed moving the surviving equipment back into its old room in the Mathematics building, but the dean vetoed that. "We are, after all, an engineering school. We should be able to do better than that."

The next day, workers swarmed the CS building, armed with large diamond-tipped saws and laser measures. On the top floor, they cut a hole on the roof of the building and installed large double doors. Of course, they opened to a four story drop that ended in a sloped ledge on the third floor of the building. A few days later, a large crane trampled the delicate landscaping and hoisted the rack equipment and surviving servers through the doors. Workers moved it from the ledge into the new server room a few feet away. "There," the dean said, "that should solve your little flooding problem." His tone implied that the whole thing had been Diogo's fault for having servers in the first place.

Through most of the fall semester, things went swimmingly- or not, as the case may be. The basement flooded several more times, but the server room was safe on a higher floor, potected by altitude and fire doors on all the stairwells. Rumors spread about the door to nowhere, and the fact that it had no lock, which earned it the nickname "the Suicide Door".

In early April, Diogo walked up the stairs towards the server room and opened the fire door, only to get doused with six inches of water that had pooled around the door. He waded to the server room, only to find that the puddle extended to the UPSes and destroyed several thousand dollars worth of equipment.

The winter had left a full pack of snow and ice on the roof of the building. When the weather finally warmed, it melted, and attempted to run off the roof. Unfortunately, the easiest route downwards was through the hastily installed and poorly sealed "Suicide Door", and was trapped on the upper floor by the tightly sealed fire doors.