MIT New 450-bed Residence Hall | 121 Vassar St. | Cambridge

Bananarama

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I must say, you make excellent points about the location/context. I GoogleMapped 121 Vassar and that actually DOES fit in well with the context on that street.

It is the exact opposite of the situation with the BU Stack o' Books (or Stack o' Shipping Containers) building going up on Comm Ave which completely bigfoots its neighborhood with a "Look at Me, I'm Cancelling You Guys out" raspberry.

Your post got me to looking at this in a different way and coming to a different conclusion. Thank you!
Was going to say this exactly! I can't stand the BU project for this reason primarily.

The square window motif also plays off that other dorm as well as the Metro Storage warehouse next-door (soon to be new home to the MIT Architecture department).
You could even argue this project is the Holl building's massing/elevation rotated into plan view (erosions of the mass along the roof, translated into courtyards along the street). Although that's probably a stretch lol
 

bdurden

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I must say, you make excellent points about the location/context. I GoogleMapped 121 Vassar and that actually DOES fit in well with the context on that street.

It is the exact opposite of the situation with the BU Stack o' Books (or Stack o' Shipping Containers) building going up on Comm Ave which completely bigfoots its neighborhood with a "Look at Me, I'm Cancelling You Guys out" raspberry.

I had been judging this building completely on its own, without taking context in mind. Your post got me to look deeper at this and come to a different conclusion. Thank you!
What exactly is the BU data center cancelling out? Warren Towers? That would be an epic triumph.
 

Bananarama

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What exactly is the BU data center cancelling out? Warren Towers? That would be an epic triumph.
There are beautiful brownstones right behind it. The Performing Arts center next door and the larger building it's a part of is the classical/neo-gothic anchor of the campus. The stack of books is a giant middle finger to both. I don't think the failings of Warren give that plot the free reign to be so acontextual.
 

bdurden

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There are beautiful brownstones right behind it. The Performing Arts center next door and the larger building it's a part of is the classical/neo-gothic anchor of the campus. The stack of books is a giant middle finger to both. I don't think the failings of Warren give that plot the free reign to be so acontextual.
The red brise soliel of the new building contextually matches both the brownstones on Bay State and it’s immediate neighbor, Sargent. As does the height of the base of the building before the tower goes up higher.

This disrupts the Neo-gothic CAS / Marsh Chapel buildings on campus no more than the brutalist additions from the 60s, which if you like them or not, are fundamentally a part of the campus as a whole.
I say, give it a chance. You may be surprised just how well it improves an otherwise inactive corner at Comm / Granby.
 

shmessy

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The red brise soliel of the new building contextually matches both the brownstones on Bay State and it’s immediate neighbor, Sargent. As does the height of the base of the building before the tower goes up higher.

This disrupts the Neo-gothic CAS / Marsh Chapel buildings on campus no more than the brutalist additions from the 60s, which if you like them or not, are fundamentally a part of the campus as a whole.
I say, give it a chance. You may be surprised just how well it improves an otherwise inactive corner at Comm / Granby.

It's a pile of storage containers on Commonwealth Avenue.

Look, everyone has a different sense of taste/opinion. I just saying, from my view, it is a complete middle finger to that avenue and it's environs. It would have been great at Boston Landing along the Pike.

Context is everything. It is why Bananarama changed my view of this building at 121 Vassar.
 

bdurden

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It's a pile of storage containers on Commonwealth Avenue.

Look, everyone has a different sense of taste/opinion. I just saying, from my view, it is a complete middle finger to that avenue and it's environs. It would have been great at Boston Landing along the Pike.

Context is everything. It is why Bananarama changed my view of this building at 121 Vassar.
OK - I suppose, and certainly odd logic.
 

shmessy

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OK - I suppose, and certainly odd logic.

I fully understand that some people don't understand urban "context" and merely look at each building as an isolated, stand alone piece of architecture.

Surely, you can see a huge difference in the contextual surroundings of 121 Vassar and BU Comm Ave.

I'm not deriding your logic as odd, merely a different school of thought. And, just like with Bananarama above, I am fully open to you changing my opinion. Here to learn.
 

found5dollar

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I feel this building looks really sharp... in the literal sense of the word. The unadorned edges of the building seem to slice through the air and match up usually with the way the edges of the color blocked areas meet. I find it kind of intresting how this sharpness plays with your perception alot like how an Ellsworth Kelly painting works, by constantly switching items visually from the foreground to the background and back again. The blue wall are clever in this regard as there will be days when the sky is that exact color and building and sky and colors will constantly be switching places in your mind. The flatness of the walls only heightens this perception trick. I'm actually realy excited to see what happens when the awnings are added to this building. Will it heighten or deaden this effect?

Is this my favorite building? I dont think so. But is it doing some intresting things and making me want to see more? Totally.
 

taketern

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Crossing the tracks from SP, Ashdown, the Warehouse, etc towards the main campus (& vice versa) will be much more pleasant than when that garage was there.
 

kz1000ps

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There are individual moments I very much like but overall it reeks of value engineering, especially with Simmons Hall just down the block.
 

shmessy

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Instead of just looking at photos and renders, I finally walked there a couple of weeks ago and……count me in as fully converted into a fan of this building!

Brad Plaid’s photo stream above captures well the strengths-of this.

It is spectacular and very contextual to its environs. The color scheme is stunning and crisp. The building and its diverse angles hold the viewer’s eyes. I found myself just staring at this for several minutes and wanting to go inside and walk around. It does not bigfoot it’s neighborhood at all. I was completely wrong on this one originally and now that it is complete, really love this and hope for more like it around the area.
 

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