Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

Lrfox

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The problem is that none of these new streets will function as actual streets. For the most part they don't connect to anything else so there isn't going to be any through traffic. You're better off calming the arteries which ring the site and creating more obvious and attractive entrances into the central court.

That is if I thought the building should be demolished, which I don't. Anything that replaces it won't have an iota of ambition that Rudolph had. Far too many people here value height over anything else and the way this city has developed over the last 20 years proves that actual architecture has been discarded. The GSC is faaarrrr from perfect but it shouldn't be torn down just to be replaced by some bland mid rise that no one will think twice about.
I don't see them being arteries for through car traffic. More as a means to create a more human scale in the area and break up the superblock for pedestrians while also not completely ignoring cars. I'm sure that anyone with some semblance of a traffic engineering background would call that MS Paint mock-up absurd.

That said, I did consider that you would get some use out of the Cardinal O'Connell extension. It would enable people entering/exiting MGH to avoid the Merrimac/Staniford mess. I also see it as a good pedestrian connection to much of MGH from Bowdoin. Currently, it's much more circuitous to reach anything other than the buildings directly along Cambridge St.

The Bullfinch Place connection is really to further break the block up and provide a direct Pedestrian corridor rather than a through street. Apart from cop cars and mail vans, it will be quiet. But there's nothing wrong with a quiet street.

I also am not fully on board team "knock it all down!" I actually would stick my neck out to fight to preserve/fix the Lindemann side of things. I'm 50/50 on the Hurley, my biggest issue being the sheer mass of the thing and how anti-urban it is. Not so much an issue with design. It's a shame Brutalism came about in an era of auto-centric planning because I really like it it from a design standpoint. If there was a way to maybe open up some pedestrian walkways between Staniford and New Chardon, add some retail/street-level activation, etc. AND save the building, I'd be all for preserving it. Especially if you could open up the plaza and the New Chardon side for development.
 

FK4

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If I ever get around to creating a means to post my own images here, I will do so. But suffice it to say that I have some crappy pics showing quite a view: from midway up One Bowdoin Sq on the New Chardon side, looking down into and across the GSC rotunda — but, more importantly, to the "bridge" that walls off the Merrimac/Causeway intersection and connects the Lindemann part to the Hurley part... it's an epic view of the whole thing, but it also really underscores what I think it the most critical and, I must admit, failed part of this building, which is that it essentially serves to make the North Station area feel like it's really, really far from Govt Ctr and Beacon Hill... even though it's not. I think removing that section entirely and opening a promenade beginning where the hideous parking lot on Merrimac is, through the rotunda to New Chardon, would make such a big difference to the area there would be very little else to do (other than putting a stop to the state workers' sidewalk abuse using their govt cars, and getting rid of the remainder of chain link). The only thing that would give me pause is that the Merrimac side of that bridge portion has the crazy stairways, so maybe there's a compromise solution. But, opening up the view so a person standing on New Chardon/Bowdoin Square/Cushing Park can look down and actually SEE Merrimac Street would be a massive and positive change to this area.
 

HenryAlan

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@FK4 you can now upload images directly to the board.

Screenshot_20190910-211816.png


Just use the attach files link bellow the text entry box and upload the image you have.
 

statler

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While this thread is bumped, I had a random idea for this building while walking past the other day.

They have a few edge plantings along New Chardon St and the were a few small vine-like plants spilling over the edge. I suddenly imagined what the building would look like if it was covered in hanging gardens. I think it would soften the facade while still preserving the underlying form and texture.

This isn't a great example (I would like to see more varied plants and maybe some flowering vines), but I was thinking something like this:



I think a really talented horticulturist could pull off something amazing.
 

FK4

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While this thread is bumped, I had a random idea for this building while walking past the other day.

They have a few edge plantings along New Chardon St and the were a few small vine-like plants spilling over the edge. I suddenly imagined what the building would look like if it was covered in hanging gardens. I think it would soften the facade while still preserving the underlying form and texture.

This isn't a great example (I would like to see more varied plants and maybe some flowering vines), but I was thinking something like this:



I think a really talented horticulturist could pull off something amazing.
They could, but that concrete is already in rough shape so any vines would rip it apart. I think some judicious landscaping could be quite nice - but again, the rotunda is never used because it’s a dead end rather than a flow through, and there’s some great trees there already and potential for more plants. Opening up that back corner to the north station area could really significantly change the area. Even just GETTING RID OF THOSE FUCKING CARS on the corner and reopening the staircases would make a huge difference, though.
 

Lrfox

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They could, but that concrete is already in rough shape so any vines would rip it apart. I think some judicious landscaping could be quite nice - but again, the rotunda is never used because it’s a dead end rather than a flow through, and there’s some great trees there already and potential for more plants. Opening up that back corner to the north station area could really significantly change the area. Even just GETTING RID OF THOSE FUCKING CARS on the corner and reopening the staircases would make a huge difference, though.
When you refer to the "rotunda," what do you mean?

I do wish they'd reopen the stairs as well. The Merrimac Lot is overstuffed with vehicles, and parking was never its intended purpose (it was supposed to be a plaza). They've removed a lot of the chain link fence around the building, but it seems as if it's only enabled more vehicles to occupy the sidewalk along the length of Staniford. "Official" vehicles driving and parking on sidewalks, bike lanes, pedestrian pathways (especially Washington St. through DTX), etc. is one of my bigger gripes with the culture of this city, but I digress.

There actually is a publicly accessible pathway to cut through the building from Staniford to the New Chardon plaza. You can go through the DMH entrance ramp on Stanford and cut through the garage that way without ever setting foot inside the building. But it's obviously not as nice as it would be if the stairs were open.
 

FK4

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When you refer to the "rotunda," what do you mean?

I do wish they'd reopen the stairs as well. The Merrimac Lot is overstuffed with vehicles, and parking was never its intended purpose (it was supposed to be a plaza). They've removed a lot of the chain link fence around the building, but it seems as if it's only enabled more vehicles to occupy the sidewalk along the length of Staniford. "Official" vehicles driving and parking on sidewalks, bike lanes, pedestrian pathways (especially Washington St. through DTX), etc. is one of my bigger gripes with the culture of this city, but I digress.

There actually is a publicly accessible pathway to cut through the building from Staniford to the New Chardon plaza. You can go through the DMH entrance ramp on Stanford and cut through the garage that way without ever setting foot inside the building. But it's obviously not as nice as it would be if the stairs were open.
The big circular area in the center of the courtyard, and, by extension, the associated plazas around it.

Right now it’s mostly frequented by ne’erdowells who show up to sell K2 to all the vulnerable homeless DMH clients who live in the Lindemann. It’s completely egregious but the DMH Police refuse to do anything about it.
 

Arlington

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...along New Chardon St and the were a few small vine-like plants spilling over the edge. I suddenly imagined what the building would look like if it was covered in hanging gardens. I think it would soften the facade while still preserving the underlying form and texture.
Ivy.org can probably identify for us an ivy that is compatible with concrete / beton brut (the right varieties are fairly benign)
 
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odurandina

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re-posted

Some may call for this crazy, perverse sand castle to be saved. As hard it may be for good people to accept, this absurd mass of concrete is one of the greatest urban blights in USA. However, there's more to ridding ourselves of it (for the greater good) than just bringing an end to blight.

It's not hard to see once you weigh it's jovial, cynical, quasi-historic value vs the site's unrealized potential.... If the building is allowed to survive, a vital part of Downtown, already confined with a critical lack of space will continue to be under-utilized and fail to become an iconic address in Boston. Not only is the footprint of the building one of the last straightforward, realistic sites for one or more future skyscrapers. But, it is worthy to become the next Cobb/Pei or Piano type masterpiece.

One of the reasons why i admire the work of Don Chiofaro and Joe Larkin, is they recognize that when a site is well suited, or particularly merits having an iconic building put on it, it shouldn't be developed with 2/3 of an iconic building on it--but rather, get the full building. In particular for Chiofaro, there's more to it than just putting up a highrise and making a profit. Chiofaro risks it all: money, reputation and more to create something that will be tall, and have permanence. With Millennium, it is the pursuit of profit that pushes form to follow function. Well enough: It should happen more often in this Goddamned City.

I don't particularly like the windows of IP (another of the pomo's tailings piles). In New York, they can screw something up (Pan Am), and up the street they'll do better on the next one. Not many chances to do that in Boston–including right here with the Rudolph State Service Center.

Boston can live without the Rudolph SSC bldg a hell of a lot better than it can live (with) it still standing. Everyone knows it never should have been built. The argument for brutalism as a worthy architectural endeavor can probably be made: we've seen plenty of examples. But not even in Pyongyang, should something as absurd, and dehumanizing as this vastly huge building, with its extended prison walls–exist. It sure as hell shouldn't exist in Downtown Boston, closing off 3 neighborhoods from each other, in a precious, historic, walk-able zone.

It rails at the former residents of the West End in perpetuity, and that fact alone makes it a particularly expensive exercise in Brutalist adventurism. People who support its continued existence, should pick their battles and sell brutalist preservation someplace else. Here, they're selling 'crazy.' The wrecking balls won't come soon enough.
 
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Charlie_mta

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It rails at the former residents of the West End in perpetuity, and that fact alone makes it a particularly expensive exercise in Brutalist adventurism. People who support its continued existence, should pick their battles and sell brutalist preservation someplace else. Here, they're selling 'crazy.' The wrecking balls won't come soon enough.
I agree. Implode the damn thing and build a decent urban neighborhood in it place. Same goes for the low-rise section of the Federal Building and all of 1-2-3 Center Plaza.

I still vividly remember the old West End neighborhood that I would see often from the Green Line Viaduct. It was a great neighborhood, full of life. Bring back something like that with some supertalls thrown in, and you'd have something worthy of a world class city.
 

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