Kenmore Square North | 533 Commonwealth Ave | Fenway

stefal

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-In all fairness, I love height. but you cant take away what the Citgo sign represents to Boston. Its Iconic. No matter what anyone here thinks, the vast majority of Bostonians and Outsiders wouldnt want the Citgo sign to go
Not to get this thread going back in this tangent that it's been on several times, but I don't think I'd blink twice if the Citgo sign was taken down or moved and I've been here for 22 years with no intentions of leaving. I also think outsiders would find it strange that we worship a gasoline company sign as much as we do.

Not only that, but the fact that there was a city-wide fight, that even the mayor got involved with, over protecting the sign, and very, very little cooperation from the BPDA, historical commissions, and the city on preserving one of the remaining pieces of character in Kenmore Square, which has ultimately led to its demolition and replacement being a 'find-anywhere,' route-128-esque steril office building, says a lot about where our values are at as a city.
 

Czervik.Construction

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I agree. That Citgo sign was constantly on the fritz and partially working while growing up, more of a sign of urban decay that an "icon".

20-30 floors here would have complemented the Studio Gang building across the street.

Oh well, what's done is done.

I’m the furthest thing from a height fetishist but 20-30 floors was appropriate here and the Citgo sign is an embarrassment and a joke to people from outside of Boston. I feel badly for anyone with an emotional attachment to it. It’s nothing more than a billboard.
 

odurandina

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Saving the Citgo sign was fine. Count me among those who generally support the idea.
What was unacceptable was developing the site and not adding a few floors (like 2 or 3 floors), to help the developer recoup the costs of designing and financing the preservation of the facade into the design. It just so happens the preservation folks don't like facadectormies. Their lack of interest helped us to reach this sleazy outcome.
 

Equilibria

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Not to get this thread going back in this tangent that it's been on several times, but I don't think I'd blink twice if the Citgo sign was taken down or moved and I've been here for 22 years with no intentions of leaving. I also think outsiders would find it strange that we worship a gasoline company sign as much as we do.

Not only that, but the fact that there was a city-wide fight, that even the mayor got involved with, over protecting the sign, and very, very little cooperation from the BPDA, historical commissions, and the city on preserving one of the remaining pieces of character in Kenmore Square, which has ultimately led to its demolition and replacement being a 'find-anywhere,' route-128-esque steril office building, says a lot about where our values are at as a city.
I don't like the loss of that facade any more than you do, but this is not a "Route 128" building they're replacing it with. It's a perfectly urban, contextual building. It's just not as good as what they tore down to build it. (and what does "Route 128" mean, anyway? I'm really sick of that description on aB when it has never actually had a definition beyond "building I personally find boring").

And the Citgo sign is a symbol of the City. The haters just need to learn to live with that and stop whining.
 

DZH22

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I don't like the loss of that facade any more than you do, but this is not a "Route 128" building they're replacing it with. It's a perfectly urban, contextual building. It's just not as good as what they tore down to build it. (and what does "Route 128" mean, anyway? I'm really sick of that description on aB when it has never actually had a definition beyond "building I personally find boring").
A route 128 building is typically going to be a suburban-like office structure, wider than it is tall, in the range of about 5-8 stories. In that respect, this fits the bill. End of the day, they should have done a facadectomy and went 25-30 stories with a tower. It still would have preserved the sight-lines of the Citgo sign from Fenway. The sight-lines didn't/don't need to be preserved from EVERYWHERE.
 

Neon

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I might be in the minority here but I’d be fine with them moving the Citgo sign (not that this idea has ever been discussed) across the street atop the Commonwealth Hotel. This would allow height here which might’ve paid for saving the corner facade. I’m not sure what brouhaha moved sight lines of the sign would’ve caused but...
 

HenryAlan

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A route 128 building is typically going to be a suburban-like office structure, wider than it is tall, in the range of about 5-8 stories. In that respect, this fits the bill. End of the day, they should have done a facadectomy and went 25-30 stories with a tower. It still would have preserved the sight-lines of the Citgo sign from Fenway. The sight-lines didn't/don't need to be preserved from EVERYWHERE.
That definition is pretty useless. There are hundreds of such buildings in Boston, most of which are totally fine. We might not think about them much, as they usually just blend in to the background fabric. This building will be like that and will in fact provide greater density than what was there before. The new building is fine, that's not the problem with this development. The problem is the loss of an historically important structure. As for 25-30 stories, I'm not sure that's needed at the location. Not every new building needs to be so tall.
 

DZH22

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The problem is the loss of an historically important structure. As for 25-30 stories, I'm not sure that's needed at the location. Not every new building needs to be so tall.
The height would have been the offset to incorporating the facadectomy. Considering 2 more 300'+ towers are proposed right in the immediate area, the heart of Kenmore Square is an appropriate place to ask for more height than you might build in Burlington/Waltham/Woburn.
 

bigpicture7

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That definition is pretty useless.
Oh come on, to deny there's such a distinct thing as a "Route 128 Building" is to ignore a core part of the context of living in Massachusetts.

Let me attempt this:
A "Route 128" building is one that is designed specifically to be a large, inexpensive holding pen for office workers, to be fabricated as cheaply as possible while meeting all basic codes. They tend to have a curtain wall that repeats itself endlessly around the structure, usually with a horizontal band of masonry or pre-cast beneath a horizontal band of half-height windows. They always sprout up during "tech booms" where structures must be built as quickly as possible and there's no time to spend on creative design; therefore, they always simply and unapologetically copy the trend-du-jour of their era (hence there are 1980's 128-buildings and late-90s/early-aughts 128-buildings, and nothing in between). They never have an inviting streetwall because they are specifically designed not to draw outsiders in. They are typically designed for automobile commuters. They tend to have Marriott Fairfield Inns, Holiday Inn Expresses, Homewood Suites, etc., across the parking lot from them.
 

Equilibria

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Oh come on, to deny there's such a distinct thing as a "Route 128 Building" is to ignore a core part of the context of living in Massachusetts.

Let me attempt this:
A "Route 128" building is one that is designed specifically to be a large, inexpensive holding pen for office workers, to be fabricated as cheaply as possible while meeting all basic codes. They tend to have a curtain wall that repeats itself endlessly around the structure, usually with a horizontal band of masonry or pre-cast beneath a horizontal band of half-height windows. They always sprout up during "tech booms" where structures must be built as quickly as possible and there's no time to spend on creative design; therefore, they always simply and unapologetically copy the trend-du-jour of their era (hence there are 1980's 128-buildings and late-90s/early-aughts 128-buildings, and nothing in between). They never have an inviting streetwall because they are specifically designed not to draw outsiders in. They are typically designed for automobile commuters. They tend to have Marriott Fairfield Inns, Holiday Inn Expresses, Homewood Suites, etc., across the parking lot from them.
Well done. For an example of a true "Route 128" building in an urban area, see:


My criticism wasn't that there's no such thing, but that there's no concrete meaning to the phrase as used on aB.
 

HenryAlan

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Oh come on, to deny there's such a distinct thing as a "Route 128 Building" is to ignore a core part of the context of living in Massachusetts.

Let me attempt this:
A "Route 128" building is one that is designed specifically to be a large, inexpensive holding pen for office workers, to be fabricated as cheaply as possible while meeting all basic codes. They tend to have a curtain wall that repeats itself endlessly around the structure, usually with a horizontal band of masonry or pre-cast beneath a horizontal band of half-height windows. They always sprout up during "tech booms" where structures must be built as quickly as possible and there's no time to spend on creative design; therefore, they always simply and unapologetically copy the trend-du-jour of their era (hence there are 1980's 128-buildings and late-90s/early-aughts 128-buildings, and nothing in between). They never have an inviting streetwall because they are specifically designed not to draw outsiders in. They are typically designed for automobile commuters. They tend to have Marriott Fairfield Inns, Holiday Inn Expresses, Homewood Suites, etc., across the parking lot from them.
I'm not denying the existence of a "route 128" building type, but I don't think DZH22's definition fits. Yours is better, and I would argue that it doesn't describe the building that will result from this project.
 

stefal

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I don't like the loss of that facade any more than you do, but this is not a "Route 128" building they're replacing it with. It's a perfectly urban, contextual building. It's just not as good as what they tore down to build it. (and what does "Route 128" mean, anyway? I'm really sick of that description on aB when it has never actually had a definition beyond "building I personally find boring").
Sure, the ground floor might activate the streets better than what was there before, and it remains to be seen how successful it becomes in that regard, but how is this, in any way, ‘contextual?’

My original intention on calling it a Route-128-building was stemming from the ribbon-window-esque design combined with the brick that reads as an office building that you’d find in an office park in suburbs, and in MA, predominantly around the 128 belt. If we don’t want to use the 128-architecture description, I will still continue to call this a sanitized, bland, and generic design that you could find in any city. This is especially not needed in Kenmore Square. Its not a location calling for mediocrity.

Well done. For an example of a true "Route 128" building in an urban area, see:


My criticism wasn't that there's no such thing, but that there's no concrete meaning to the phrase as used on aB.
This is 100% a Route 128 building in an urban area, but it sits in the background.

HenryAlan may have been right that there are hundreds of buildings in Boston that I am totally with them fine being boring and blending into the background fabric, but again, this is in a prime location replacing a piece of architecture that, as others have said before on here, can no longer be recreated. The level of craft and architectural details going into it is not and will never live up to what has just been taken down. And while I'm sure the architect had their best intentions, what the client asked for does not even come close in terms of what we can do with modern materials.

And the Citgo sign is a symbol of the City. The haters just need to learn to live with that and stop whining.
And sorry, I have never and don’t see myself appreciating the Citgo sign standing on top of that building. I don’t gain any excitement from seeing it, and as Czervik said, the sign used to be more of a sign of urban decay rather than whatever it means now.

Anyways, this development is continuing and the sign is staying despite my whining and frustration, and that’s how cities work I guess.
 

bigpicture7

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My criticism wasn't that there's no such thing, but that there's no concrete meaning to the phrase as used on aB.
I'm not denying the existence of a "route 128" building type, but I don't think DZH22's definition fits. Yours is better, and I would argue that it doesn't describe the building that will result from this project.
Sorry didn't mean to be too snarky. It is a bit of hyperbole to say this new building really/fully embodies "128", but some aspects of it border on such.

To me, a couple of the most egregious examples of 128-in-urban-contexts in ~boston are:
and,

...both of which are far worse than what's proposed here
 

stick n move

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At least the new ground level is going to be pretty nice. The facade is definitely a loss, but ground level is important so at least thats not going to be crappy or else itd be a bigger loss.



 

whighlander

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Sure, the ground floor might activate the streets better than what was there before, and it remains to be seen how successful it becomes in that regard, but how is this, in any way, ‘contextual?’

My original intention on calling it a Route-128-building was stemming from the ribbon-window-esque design combined with the brick that reads as an office building that you’d find in an office park in suburbs, and in MA, predominantly around the 128 belt. If we don’t want to use the 128-architecture description, I will still continue to call this a sanitized, bland, and generic design that you could find in any city. This is especially not needed in Kenmore Square. Its not a location calling for mediocrity.



This is 100% a Route 128 building in an urban area, but it sits in the background.

HenryAlan may have been right that there are hundreds of buildings in Boston that I am totally with them fine being boring and blending into the background fabric, but again, this is in a prime location replacing a piece of architecture that, as others have said before on here, can no longer be recreated. The level of craft and architectural details going into it is not and will never live up to what has just been taken down. And while I'm sure the architect had their best intentions, what the client asked for does not even come close in terms of what we can do with modern materials.



And sorry, I have never and don’t see myself appreciating the Citgo sign standing on top of that building. I don’t gain any excitement from seeing it, and as Czervik said, the sign used to be more of a sign of urban decay rather than whatever it means now.

Anyways, this development is continuing and the sign is staying despite my whining and frustration, and that’s how cities work I guess.
Not to divert too too much -- BUT there is only two things which characterize Rt-128 Buildings:
1 is it a show building -- to be seen from RT-128 such as the relative Tower in the former New England Executive Park [Burlington] or the cluster of similar buildings across the Reservoir from Rt-128 {Waltham] or the Westin Hotel [Waltham] or the recent HQ for Clark Shoes [Waltham], Wolverine Worldwide [Waltham] or the Skyworks [Woburn], Thermo Fisher HQ [Waltham]-- these are showy and do typically come in fads -- formerly brick, then cement and glass and now mostly glass
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Dassault Systèmes complete with waterfeature


The conversion of the former Post Office facility to 400,000 sq of Office / Lab as the Post in Waltham
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2 is a functional building -- often hidden behind the showy buildings where there is a need for 1 or 2 stories to handle manufacturing of some sort -- the paradigm being Skyworks in Woburn which houses a Galium Arsenide Semiconductor Fab behind the fancy facade

and of course the grandady of them all -- Raytheon corporate HQ [corner of Rt-2 and Rt-128 in Lexington] -- then became Shire with expasion of research and production in new buildings and now it has become Takeda -- about 50 years of evolution of the site


and the newest 400,000 sq ft of new lab/office space at the venerable Hobbs Brook Park in Waltham near Rt-2


So -- Yea -- All of Rt-128 buildings are alike and all are boring architecture -- a lot like all those identical Boston buildings
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1571244501333.jpeg
1571247641041.jpeg
 

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