Best Ten Projects of the Decade: 2000-2009

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May 25, 2006
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All members are encouraged to nominate Boston area projects* completed between 2000-2009 that they believe meet the definition of best project of the decade.

For those who need their memories jogged a bit, check out this thread started by Vanshnookraggen a few months back:

*includes all project types, i.e., building, park, infrastructure project, etc.
Central Square Theatre, Cambridge

Zero Arrow Theatre (aka Oberon), Cambridge

Restoration of the Opera House, Boston

Stata Center, MIT, Cambridge (now how's that for controversy!?)

Apple Store, Boylston St., Boston

Tufte Performance and Production Center, Emerson College, Boston

Paramount Center at Emerson College, Boston -- does it count as "this decade" even though it isn't yet formally open and we haven't been inside yet?

Conversion of Sears to Landmark Center, Fenway, Boston -- does this count since most of the work was done in the 1990s, but it opened in 2000?

111 Huntington Ave (and related, largely unnoticed expansion of the Prudential Center shopping mall to meet and enclose the Prudential T stop)

Zakim Bridge
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Allston Branch Library
601 Congress St
Macallen Bldg

if we're including Cambridge:
Simmons Hall
Stata Center
Harvard northwest Science Building
Harvard Graduate Housing (10 Akron)
Genzyme Center
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One more that I'm not sure meets the criteria, but I'll throw it in anyway:

The sum total of renovations to Fenway Park over several successive off-seasons this decade, spearheaded by Janet Marie Smith and the current Red Sox ownership. The Monster Seats are the most noticeable of the many changes they made to the Lyric Little Bandbox.
FP3... Too small to get the recognition of, say, 111 Huntington; but probably one of my favorite urban projects this decade.
I'll nominate Jill Brown-Rhone Park in Central Square, Cambridge, for this category, too.
-Macallen Building
-Apple Store
-Stata Center
-Fenway Park Renovations
trilogy/1330 boylston - high quality projects that are reinventing an entire neighborhood (in a good way). they're creating a sense of place on that stretch of boylston, where there really wasn't much of one before.
ICA. It's Boston's Sydney Opera House, built at a modest Boston human scale. It probably generated the most buzz of any building this decade, with the exception of Stata Center.
Battery Wharf
111 Huntington
Zakim Bridge
Apple Store
Harvard Memorial Dr. graduate housing - the Kyu Sung Woo building
Archstone Smith Cambridge (the big tower)
#1, MIT Neurosciences Center by Charles Correa
#5, Apple Store
#6 ICA, spectacular waterside although Southie side should be on worst-list
#7 Opera House restoration
#8 Entire Berkeley Investments Portfolio in Fort Point

#2-#4 Intentionally left blank.
Sicilian, I'm with you on the MIT Neurosciences building... Stata may steal the limelight, but this one does more for me.
Boston only and in no particular order:

MFA Expansion
Mass Art building on Huntington
Shapiro Building at BWH
Simmons College library addition
Blackfan Circle
Emmanuel College addition
Russia Wharf
^ Heavy on the Longwood stuff, eh? I forgot about the MassArt building, definitely deserves the nomination.
I like the list, except Russia Wharf.
Russia Wharf isn't complete, so it should not be included in a list of picks for the last decade. They still have to add a billboard, three brick chimneys and a gargoyle.
A lot of my favorites have already been mentioned above. I'll re-mention a few here (I'll try to add photos shortly):

FP3 -- this relatively modest project managed to do pretty much everything right. Sets the bar for new developments in existing neighborhoods. Great project...maybe the single best of the lot.

MacAllen Building -- bold, urban, and transformative, it's easily the best contemporary residential building in the city, IMO. And in South Boston of all places. I love this building.

The Brain and Cognitive Science Center (or whatever its called now) and the Stata Center @ MIT-- they are each other's perfect foil. As I've said before, the greatest Boston-area architectural juxtaposition since Trinity Church and the New Hancock.

Zakim Bridge -- Boston's northern gateway, way over-designed and it's a good thing too -- the Big Dig's terranean face does double duty making up for the disastrous Greenway. An instant icon.

Simmons Hall @ MIT -- i know a lot of people dismiss this one as vacuous starchitecture, but I love it. It's the Versailles of college dorms.

Atelier 505 -- I'm no Ron Druker fan, but got to give credit where it's do. He did right with this one. Anchors Tremont St. in the South End quite nicely.

Valentine Houses, Cambridge -- small but notable project by the architects of the Big Dig House, Single Speed Design. I have a soft spot for architects willing to engage and tinker with the local vernacular. These are an admirable attempt at reinterpreting the triple-decker.

Logan Airport's Terminal E -- one of the most spectacular rooms in Boston. See it at dusk, lit in the blue light of the flight monitors.

303 Third, Cambridge -- one small step in the big scheme of things, one giant leap for Kendal Square.

NEU's Building H (is it still called this?) -- NEU's whole West Campus probably belongs here. It provided the university with something it always lacked -- a compelling physical embodiment -- and it transcended its existing campus image that more resembled a military base than a major urban university. Building H provided the added function of, like the New Hancock with Copley Sq., announcing an important place in the skyline, in this case the MFA -- a function it fulfills very elegantly, IMO.

Court House Station -- Silver Line aside, this station with its sweeping concrete forms and stainless steel aesthetic established a new standard for T stations. A raw simple contemporary beauty. A breadth of fresh air in a time when T station modernization means making the place look like a public bathroom.

South Station Headhouses -- Machado and Silvetti's subway portals may be over-designed, but so what. These crystalline hedgehogs recall a time when every subway headhouse was a mini-monument.

The new ICA -- got Boston excited about architecture... and contemporary art. A true Boston architectural watershed.

Also agree with Ron about the Paramount and Opera House. This block hasn't been so beautiful and alive in decades.
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