Boynton Yards | 101-153 South Street | Somerville

Dr. Rosen Rosen

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It looks plain and cheap. The architects should have acknowledged the historical context of the area. MIT is doing this when developing the Main Street/Kendall Square area, and even the Hub on Causeway designed that in their complex.
These are going to be Class A lab buildings. I don’t think there’s anything cheap about that. Or anything cheap about the tenants they’ll attract. Or about the taxes Somerville will collect.
 

Dr. Rosen Rosen

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Renderings for 121 South St. Check out the good amount of indoor public/market and retail space - very impressive, I’d say. Not to mention the outdoor space. All this will be completely open to me, you, and all our neighbors. And btw way the front/lobby is facing the T stop at Union Sq. I’m glad it’s facing Somerville and not Cambridge!

CB22D423-4EE6-4CD0-AC3A-514CE74D0A33.png

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Charlie_mta

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These are going to be Class A lab buildings. I don’t think there’s anything cheap about that. Or anything cheap about the tenants they’ll attract. Or about the taxes Somerville will collect.
You're right about it not being cheap, per se. I was using that term in relation to the plainness of the building. It's not my ideal for a building in an urban setting but it's a vast improvement over what was there, and a boost to the community at large.
 

Texasian

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I wish I had managed to grab a photo, but it seems like they've got accent lighting on the mechanical penthouse on 101 South Street... I'm not really a fan. If they had done something interesting with the screening and it wasn't just a lit-up big gray rectangle in the sky.
 

stick n move

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I dont get why they dont have a masterplan that the builders build to now so that eventually the street grid can be made much better and well connected when it builds out. Theyre just using the existing less than ideal grid.

One of my biggest problems with planning these days is that the street grid is seen as almost an afterthought after the buildings. The great examples of planning from the past all started with the street grid first, savannah, washington dc, nyc, paris, chicago…etc. So many new plans focus on the shiny buildings and the streets are just whatever, some of the best planned cities only focused on the grid and let the city fill in organically. If you get the street grid right first a good neighborhood will follow. It doesnt matter how great the buildings are if the streets suck, look at dubai.
 

fattony

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I dont get why they dont have a masterplan that the builders build to now so that eventually the street grid can be made much better and well connected when it builds out. Theyre just using the existing less than ideal grid.

One of my biggest problems with planning these days is that the street grid is seen as almost an afterthought after the buildings. The great examples of planning from the past all started with the street grid first, savannah, washington dc, nyc, paris, chicago…etc. So many new plans focus on the shiny buildings and the streets are just whatever, some of the best planned cities only focused on the grid and let the city fill in organically. If you get the street grid right first a good neighborhood will follow. It doesnt matter how great the buildings are if the streets suck, look at dubai.
Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me can comment further, but I think the reason you can’t just make the existing street grid better is because utilities follow the streets. It would be very expensive to dig up utilities and replace them, especially if they have a long useful life remaining. It would be poor financial stewardship to spend all that money for some unquantified “better.” Now, if you can assign an ROI or objective community benefit to the “better” grid, then you will see change.

Just look at the massive effort required to reconfigure Inman Square or the 6+ years spent on reconstructing Beacon Street in Somerville. It’s not trivial to move the streets, even when it looks like a clean slate above ground.

Your second point is the key. Do it right the first time or suffer for generations.
 
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Charlie_mta

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I dont get why they dont have a masterplan that the builders build to now so that eventually the street grid can be made much better and well connected when it builds out. Theyre just using the existing less than ideal grid.

One of my biggest problems with planning these days is that the street grid is seen as almost an afterthought after the buildings. The great examples of planning from the past all started with the street grid first, savannah, washington dc, nyc, paris, chicago…etc. So many new plans focus on the shiny buildings and the streets are just whatever, some of the best planned cities only focused on the grid and let the city fill in organically. If you get the street grid right first a good neighborhood will follow. It doesnt matter how great the buildings are if the streets suck, look at dubai.
The older parts of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville obviously never had a street grid. The streets began in colonial times, each little road crookedly avoiding creeks, small rivers, and former shorelines, and zigzagging around small farms and estates. Later, disjointed patchworks of streets were gradually added as each farm and estate was developed, and each creek or shoreline filled in. So it is a crazy quilt of streets; interesting, urban, and historical.
 

Equilibria

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I dont get why they dont have a masterplan that the builders build to now so that eventually the street grid can be made much better and well connected when it builds out. Theyre just using the existing less than ideal grid.

One of my biggest problems with planning these days is that the street grid is seen as almost an afterthought after the buildings. The great examples of planning from the past all started with the street grid first, savannah, washington dc, nyc, paris, chicago…etc. So many new plans focus on the shiny buildings and the streets are just whatever, some of the best planned cities only focused on the grid and let the city fill in organically. If you get the street grid right first a good neighborhood will follow. It doesnt matter how great the buildings are if the streets suck, look at dubai.
They do. Somerville has laid out a future grid for that area. This building uses the current South Street as an access drive on the assumption it will be cut off and straightened in the future.

There's only so much you can do with that, though, since no one wants to build roads that are convenient or carry traffic, lest they be perceived as car-friendly. You also can't make the connection across the rail line there, so everything's a dead end except for the realigned South.
 

shmessy

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These are going to be Class A lab buildings. I don’t think there’s anything cheap about that. Or anything cheap about the tenants they’ll attract. Or about the taxes Somerville will collect.
I have to grudgingly agree. This is Somerville in a designated business district. What is it replacing? It’s not like the Druker demolition of the Shreve, Crump and Lowe masterpiece in the Back Bay to put up a soulless glass building. There are bigger fish to fry.
 

Dr. Rosen Rosen

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Good find, JS38. I think it’s a pretty cool design all things considered, but can’t help but chuckle at drawings like this that really spell out how out of place these buildings will be.
235A317A-1E31-4956-8A3D-68FEF2280C88.jpeg
 

Equilibria

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Good find, JS38. I think it’s a pretty cool design all things considered, but can’t help but chuckle at drawings like this that really spell out how out of place these buildings will be.
View attachment 19092
The proposed design addresses the key challenge of a site mitigating between different urban scales by creating a respectful and engaging high-rise, composed of a clearly defined 4-story podium and a floating tower above.
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

The best part is that the diagram shows that even the four-story podium is laughably out-of-scale.
 

kjdonovan

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Portico brewing is moving in to the existing lab building. Haven’t heard that elsewhere but talked to the brewers at an event last weekend.
 

RandomWalk

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Floating tower on podium needs to float more. Stick a two to three story gap between the podium and the tower. That will read as floating from the nearby sidewalks… :)
 

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