City Hall Plaza

Beton Brut

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Some of the varied forms of High-Tech Expressionism are an outgrowth of Brutalist gestures and form-making. Paul Rudolph's work in Southeast Asia (both executed and unbuilt) skirts the line between both approaches. His gifted students, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, have driven these ideas forward for the past few decades. Kevin Roche, John Portman, and even Rem Koolhaas have played in this shared space. When done thoughtfully, these can be interesting buildings that offer a rich spacial experience to residents and visitors. The Frankfurt project is Coop Himmelb(l)au at their most understated. It reminds me a bit of Koolhaas's Seattle Central Library, a nominally Brutalist building ensnared in a diagrid and frosted in glass.
 
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Downburst

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Some of the varied forms of High-Tech Expressionism are an outgrowth of Brutalist gestures and form-making. Paul Rudolph's work in Southeast Asia (both executed and unbuilt) skirts the line between both approaches. His gifted students, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, have driven these ideas forward for the past few decades. Kevin Roche, John Portman, and even Rem Koolhaas have played in this share space. When done thoughtfully, these can be interesting buildings that offer a rich spacial experience to residents and visitors. The Frankfurt project is Coop Himmelb(l)au at their most understated. It reminds me a bit of Koolhaas's Seattle Central Library, a nominally Brutalist building ensnared in a diagrid and frosted in glass.
BB, do you write professionally? That was both wonderfully stated and quite informative.
 

Beton Brut

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Thank you, Downburst.

I trained as a fiction writer in the 90s, with a sensibility informed by the work of Richard Yates, John Updike, and Thomas Williams. Sometimes I'd get stoned and write shitty poems that aspired no higher than warmed-over Robert Lowell.

The only writing I do these days is here, or in the modernism/preservation focused nooks & crannies of certain social media platforms.
 

tangent

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Great article on the history of City Hall Plaza on Boston.com

https://www.boston.com/news/history/2018/07/25/boston-city-hall-brutalism

Given the other 7 finalists, I'm not surprised Boston ended up with the current design; they were all hideous.

Fine article.... but the headline and picture don't match: "Why is Boston City Hall the way it is?" and the picture is from like 30 years ago and doesn't reflect any of the changes. Looking at it I would expect that the picture would actually show the way it is now.

As for the architectural contest... I think without a doubt architectural contests are a bad way to actually choose final architecture. I mean I suppose it is essentially like an RFP for architectural design services, but making it so public like that and so much like a contest for the design of the final building rather than just a presentation of past work or previous designs as part of a portfolio... and then the winning architect working with the city to come up with a design the city wants to build.
 

statler

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I always kinda dug the oval version. That might have been cool.
 

Beton Brut

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I always kinda dug the oval version.
I've always wondered if Gordon Bunshaft was aware of this proposal; the similarity to his Hirshhorn Museum in DC is striking.

The Mitchell/Giurgola proposal is fascinating. What was the planned cladding? It seems a thousand times more menacing than Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles unloved masterpiece.

Wish I could find a image of the also-ran proposal by a young Peter Eisenman -- it wasn't half-bad...

Another good read on the lost artistry of rendering.
 

chrisbrat

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The Frankfurt project is Coop Himmelb(l)au at their most understated. It reminds me a bit of Koolhaas's Seattle Central Library, a nominally Brutalist building ensnared in a diagrid and frosted in glass.
just got back from frankfurt (and the surrounding area). that is one of many interesting frankfurt high-rises. it's a fascinating area, overall, in that it's a study of things that worked (and many that didn't work quite as well) in a city that had to be almost entirely rebuilt after getting bombed to shit in WWII. boston would do well to consider frankfurt's above-ground trolley system (and regular old trains), bike lanes, and general infrastructure.

(apologies for going a little more off-topic. i think it's still relevant, generally speaking, to the city hall convo since we're talking wholly redeveloped urban areas defined, in many cases, by brutalist centerpieces -- some that work really well and others, not so much).
 
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stellarfun

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration released final designs Monday for the reconfiguration of City Hall Plaza,....

The city will host final reviews of the schematic design, starting with a public meeting and commenting period at 6 p.m. Wednesday, on City Hall’s third floor.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/06/03/here-what-works-for-million-redesign-city-hall-plaza/Lza0lW3lJrEPdjeZfCvORM/story.html

https://www.boston.gov/calendar/city-hall-plaza-renovation-community-meeting
 

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