Longwood Place (Simmons Residential Campus) | 305 Brookline Avenue | Longwood

Bananarama

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Fixed it for them, with an extra "Building 2" appendage added on top of "Building 3" (nothing here is re-sized, just shifted around and rotated):

View attachment 20245

If you want the open parklet space, put it on back on the quieter Pilgrim Rd. Brookline Ave is the more urban, busier one, so put a street wall there.
Parklets on the north side will be shaded for the majority of the year and uninviting to be in.
I don't have strong feelings about the proposal, but the clamoring for a streetwall is overblown imo. The Landmark Plaza park across the fens has the same orientation, receives a ton of sun, and is hugely successful.

The parks/passthroughs do seem oversized though.
 

Plen-T-Pak

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Fixed it for them, with an extra "Building 2" appendage added on top of "Building 3" (nothing here is re-sized, just shifted around and rotated):

View attachment 20245

If you want the open parklet space, put it on back on the quieter Pilgrim Rd. Brookline Ave is the more urban, busier one, so put a street wall there.
Yes, looks much better. They basically need to look at what's already there and take note of how it doesn't take whiz-bang styling to create quality spaces. I understand floor plate requirements are quite different from those during the City Beautiful movement, but it's really up to the universities to maintain the classical massing of buildings that makes parts of the Fenway and Longwood feel stately (Avenue Louis Pasteur).
 

DZH22

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I'm going to start a counter for how many times I've read that something is better than what's currently there on this board recently. I don't find it to be a good excuse on an architecture forum. This is a very substantial development/essentially a new neighborhood block - why settle for barely better-than-a-private-college-residential-campus? Or for projects around here that are replacing a parking lot/gas station/strip-mall, of course any kind of building is going to be better - I'm sure the architect would be flattered to hear their building has a little bit more design sense than a slab of asphalt, and that they should be praised for that. Sure, it's taller/denser, provides more tax revenue, and has a visual impact over the 3-4 story buildings there now, but the planning and design is really rough.
You sound like somebody who has never walked down this section of street before. It absolutely blows, on both sides, and is just a high-speed pass-through between neighborhoods. It's basically 1 step up from walking down, say, the McGrath Highway. I do not like tower-in-the-park developments, but right here I would say there is no need for a truly proper street wall. Frankly, the park areas drawing pedestrians away from the street are a gigantic improvement, and actually create a sort of mini destination that didn't exist before.

Lets face it, that part of Brookline Ave's main purpose is to facilitate cars between neighborhoods. I'd rather be hanging out in one of those new plazas than hanging out directly by that road. The massing of the buildings, in particular the tallest one at 300' (which I'm afraid will be cut to a more "appropriate" NIMBY height) by itself will draw people from Fenway to see what's going on across that mega intersection. We don't need a "proper streetwall" along a highway-type road that then leads directly to a playing field and hospitals.

If you want the open parklet space, put it on back on the quieter Pilgrim Rd. Brookline Ave is the more urban, busier one, so put a street wall there.
The problem is that Brookline Ave really isn't urban at all, and the busy part is mainly just busy for cars. The destination being created here is the parks between buildings, not some sort of street wall on a road that isn't really conducive for one. You also sound like somebody who has never walked down this section of Brookline Ave.

Also, I'm going to add that street walls tend to work better when they are on both sides of the street, creating that vibrant neighborhood feel. Well, the other side of the street has already completely failed in that regard, and the street itself is not the type you'd want to nonchalantly walk back and forth on. In a sense, this development is its own little island, so making it a destination unto itself with those front facing parks isn't the same bad idea it would be in (most of) the rest of the city.
 

JumboBuc

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You also sound like somebody who has never walked down this section of Brookline Ave.
Hahaha, I live like four blocks from here. This is my ‘hood. It takes me <10 minutes to walk here from my apartment; I walk here often.

Boylston St through the Fenway across Park Drive from here also wasn’t urban like 10 years ago. Now it is.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: why has this website had to get so personal lately? We should all respond to peoples’ thoughts, comments, and ideas without picking at them personally.
 

DZH22

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I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: why has this website had to get so personal lately? We should all respond to peoples’ thoughts, comments, and ideas without picking at them personally.
So saying that you appear unfamiliar with an area is suddenly a personal attack? That's quite the stretch.
 

stefal

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You sound like somebody who has never walked down this section of street before.
I had friends at Simmons a few short years ago. I'm very familiar with the area. Even when I wasn't visiting them, the 375 Longwood Parking Garage had the best rates for when I owned a car outside of the city, unless there was a Red Sox game.

It absolutely blows, on both sides, and is just a high-speed pass-through between neighborhoods. It's basically 1 step up from walking down, say, the McGrath Highway. I do not like tower-in-the-park developments, but right here I would say there is no need for a truly proper street wall. Frankly, the park areas drawing pedestrians away from the street are a gigantic improvement, and actually create a sort of mini destination that didn't exist before.

Lets face it, that part of Brookline Ave's main purpose is to facilitate cars between neighborhoods. I'd rather be hanging out in one of those new plazas than hanging out directly by that road. The massing of the buildings, in particular the tallest one at 300' (which I'm afraid will be cut to a more "appropriate" NIMBY height) by itself will draw people from Fenway to see what's going on across that mega intersection. We don't need a "proper streetwall" along a highway-type road that then leads directly to a playing field and hospitals.
I'm familiar with its hosility, but I'm aware urban environments can change, and when a developer is given a blank slate, I see it as opportunity for that change to happen. Otherwise, it's a painfully slow transformation strung over decades. So when they presented this conceptual plan/massing, it's a bit disappointing to see the result.

Again, just because it's bad now doesn't mean we can applaud a site layout that appears to be drawn out of thin air with no regard to the urban environment around it to keep it bad, so long as there are more/larger glass buildings. Why we're putting efforts to maintain this as a throughway solely for cars and maintain its hostility to pedestrians in an urban area is beyond me, especially if there's a goal to create a sense of place where people go. My point is it can do a much better job in an urban setting while also creating a sense of place within itself, if that's their goal.
 

JumboBuc

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So saying that you appear unfamiliar with an area is suddenly a personal attack? That's quite the stretch.
The way to respond to an opinion that differs from your own should not be to instantly jump to: “you don’t know what you’re talking about,” especially to people whom you know nothing about personally. Everything in your post could stand on its own without the two (wildly incorrect) “you don’t know the area” accusations. Just try to respond to the subject and material of comments rather than making assumptions about the people behind them.
 

DZH22

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The way to respond to an opinion that differs from your own should not be to instantly jump to: “you don’t know what you’re talking about,” especially to people whom you know nothing about personally.
First of all, "You also sound like somebody who has never walked down this section of Brookline Ave." isn't quite the same as "you don't know what you're talking about." As I pointed out, I agree that having a strong street wall is the general go-to option in this city, just not necessarily here.

Just try to respond to the subject and material of comments rather than making assumptions about the people behind them.
Here's a fun fact, now I have about 1000 new assumptions I am making about you, vs only 1 before (ie that you were unfamiliar with a particular block of the city). Maybe you should try to save your "I'm offended" schtick for something that is actually offensive next time.
 

JumboBuc

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First of all, "You also sound like somebody who has never walked down this section of Brookline Ave." isn't quite the same as "you don't know what you're talking about." As I pointed out, I agree that having a strong street wall is the general go-to option in this city, just not necessarily here.



Here's a fun fact, now I have about 1000 new assumptions I am making about you, vs only 1 before (ie that you were unfamiliar with a particular block of the city). Maybe you should try to save your "I'm offended" schtick for something that is actually offensive next time.
I’m not “offended,” man, I’m just trying to make the overall vibe of this forum a little less exasperating. And I’m by no means alone on this. But you do you.
 

gac108

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I’m not “offended,” man, I’m just trying to make the overall vibe of this forum a little less exasperating. And I’m by no means alone on this. But you do you.
This is how 99% of interactions on social media and other platforms goes now, for at least the last 5 years. It's exhausting how there are ALWAYS people who need to jump down others' throats for every single damn comment! So few people know how to communicate and have back-and-forths, in text form at least. It's especially true for people under 35 and stubborn Boomers. Social media plus a certain guy recently out of the WH have amped hostility and inability to humanely communicate now. We need top-down leadership that is calm, respectful, thoughtful and intelligent to set the tone for the US and the world. Not sure who that is though...
 

JumboBuc

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I see some similarities between this early site plan ("Building 2" specifically) and the original proposal for the Scape "The Beacon" project not far from here. Both started out with a massing largely set back from the street behind a "pocket park" / "plaza" sort of green space, and both are on stretches of "pass through" roadway with little street life.

The Beacon's plans were flipped around to be more street-facing on revision, and I hope some similar changes happen here.
 

Plen-T-Pak

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I see some similarities between this early site plan ("Building 2" specifically) and the original proposal for the Scape "The Beacon" project not far from here. Both started out with a massing largely set back from the street behind a "pocket park" / "plaza" sort of green space, and both are on stretches of "pass through" roadway with little street life.

The Beacon's plans were flipped around to be more street-facing on revision, and I hope some similar changes happen here.
I think with the Beacon, that park was put there because of the green line tunnel underneath. They likely went back and calculated they could put something small there to fill the gap. No such reason here, that I'm aware of.
 

shmessy

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It's funny, I find further up that street - deeper into the hospital area - to be some of the most badly zoned, over-dense, claustrophobic areas in Boston/Brookline. It's squished like the MGH campus or the new Winthrop Sq Tower area.
 
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Cortes

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I'll butt in and be a jerk. I see all the comments and raise you 819 Beacon St. and Maitland St., vs this and Pilgrim Rd. The park for 819 has been moved away from Beacon, just as the park here should be moved to Pilgrim Rd, as JumboBuc suggested.

In my opinion, a streetwall is important on Brookline Ave. for reigning in the road rage that occurs on this stretch of the road. I believe everyone would agree that when buildings are closer to the sidewalk, you tend to slow down a bit. Also, coming to/from Landmark, this is the correct side of the street to walk/bike on. So too a "neighborhood" park abutting a quieter more residential street like Pilgrim is the better option. As for shadows, umm, sometimes it's nice to get away from the concrete jungle, even for a block. The trees will end up being larger, and the park will feel more like it is part of the Fens, and less an urban construct.

As to me being a jerk...does anybody really think it's bio/med that will be leading an architectural revolution?! The amount of money that could be spent on architectural delights is lost to the HVAC systems...are people really arguing that AAA class lab space needs architectural joie de vivre? Where else on the face of the planet is a credible alternative?
 

393b40

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There has to be some appeal to students to this sort of design versus something denser. I can imagine the market research - "Urban...but not too urban."
Probably because it’s familiar and comforting. Students mostly come from suburban areas so youarchitecture that mimics the type of architecture they would find pleasing just scaled up slightly.

The bar is low, most of America is strip malls.
 

DwnTwnr

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It's such a good point. And in this case, I think, better than what's there isn't an accurate assessment.

What is there is a nice, inward looking college residential campus. It's extremely pleasant in the interior of that space and makes a good street edge. It would be better if the building opened more explicitly onto the Brookline, but that's about the only solid criticism to make urbanistically. Just bigger isn't always the best use of a site.

Simmons is selling it (or leasing I hope) to fund the new tower on their main campus. The developer has to make as certain amount and that requires this level of density. I wish we could know more about profit margins--how much are they making on this development and if it was scaled differently how would that affect the profit.

I think this is is why in Boston what we see most is big, lot filling boxes--residential 5 over 1s or lab buildings they are all very much of a sameness that will someday no doubt be considered important markers of early 21st century architecture. The economics of land and construction and profit and building code lead to these boring results.

I'm going to start a counter for how many times I've read that something is better than what's currently there on this board recently. I don't find it to be a good excuse on an architecture forum. This is a very substantial development/essentially a new neighborhood block - why settle for barely better-than-a-private-college-residential-campus? Or for projects around here that are replacing a parking lot/gas station/strip-mall, of course any kind of building is going to be better - I'm sure the architect would be flattered to hear their building has a little bit more design sense than a slab of asphalt, and that they should be praised for that. Sure, it's taller/denser, provides more tax revenue, and has a visual impact over the 3-4 story buildings there now, but the planning and design is really rough.
 

shmessy

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Developer proposes massive lab and housing complex where Simmons dorms now stand
Project would create “vibrant nucleus” for life science companies in Longwood Medical Area
By Annie Probert Globe Correspondent,Updated January 7, 2022, 45 minutes ago


Conceptual rendering of the proposed Longwood Place on Brooklyn Avenue and Pilgrim Road in Boston.
Conceptual rendering of the proposed Longwood Place on Brooklyn Avenue and Pilgrim Road in Boston.SCD PILGRIM ROAD MASTER PLANNER LLC/ SKANSKA USA COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT INC
The low-slung dorms of Simmons University’s residential campus in the Longwood Medical Area will likely soon give way to a proposed major mixed-use development of office and laboratory space, residential units, retail space and more.
Developer Skansa USA submitted detailed plans to the city this week for a 1.75 million square foot project spanning four buildings, with 2.3 acres of open space, to be built on the 5.8 acre location of several older Simmons dorms and sports facilities along Brookline Avenue and Pilgrim Road. The university had selected Skansa to redevelop the site back in November.
The project intends to “contrast this decades’ old insular campus with a new approach to welcoming and inclusive public realm, a vibrant new workplace hub for the life sciences industry, additional housing, and much-needed community spaces for the neighborhood,” Skanska wrote in its Jan. 3 filing to the Boston Planning & Development Agency..............
 

Cortes

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Developer proposes massive lab and housing complex where Simmons dorms now stand
Project would create “vibrant nucleus” for life science companies in Longwood Medical Area
By Annie Probert Globe Correspondent,Updated January 7, 2022, 45 minutes ago


Conceptual rendering of the proposed Longwood Place on Brooklyn Avenue and Pilgrim Road in Boston.
Conceptual rendering of the proposed Longwood Place on Brooklyn Avenue and Pilgrim Road in Boston.SCD PILGRIM ROAD MASTER PLANNER LLC/ SKANSKA USA COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT INC
The low-slung dorms of Simmons University’s residential campus in the Longwood Medical Area will likely soon give way to a proposed major mixed-use development of office and laboratory space, residential units, retail space and more.
Developer Skansa USA submitted detailed plans to the city this week for a 1.75 million square foot project spanning four buildings, with 2.3 acres of open space, to be built on the 5.8 acre location of several older Simmons dorms and sports facilities along Brookline Avenue and Pilgrim Road. The university had selected Skansa to redevelop the site back in November.
The project intends to “contrast this decades’ old insular campus with a new approach to welcoming and inclusive public realm, a vibrant new workplace hub for the life sciences industry, additional housing, and much-needed community spaces for the neighborhood,” Skanska wrote in its Jan. 3 filing to the Boston Planning & Development Agency..............
"A vibrant nucleus"?! Wow. Maybe call it an "incubator". My sarcasm is only as deep as my belly button... Let's call a spade a spade and just say that Simmons is dying and they need some cash.
 

shmessy

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"A vibrant nucleus"?! Wow. Maybe call it an "incubator". My sarcasm is only as deep as my belly button... Let's call a spade a spade and just say that Simmons is dying and they need some cash.
With all due respect to your belly button, this is a savvy and forward thinking move by Simmons and great for Boston’s future.

Given lower birth rates, the college age population in America is shrinking. We can either be a victim (and Boston is probably the most exposed re college industry) and wait for that negative demographic wave or “SKATE TO WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING”. So how about Simmons gets to make a mint on the land sale, gets to consolidate its dorms to its campus proper - eliminating the extra cost and security headaches of having the kids several blocks away AND Boston gets 1.75 million more square feet of labs/residential/offices to allow more productive people to live I. The Longwood Medical Area (smart growth near the workplace!) Its win-win. Simmons can then upgrade its campus and save money at the same time, thus keeping it going (and perhaps, more competitive for the future). THINK. Does this all not give Simmons a great opportunity to increase its Nursing program????? What do you think nurses make today? Tomorrow???? What do you think the market demand for nurses is????? Played well, this is a goldmine opportunity for Simmons.
 

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