Ode to Brutalism

stevebikes

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I got all excited by that article and ran over that way on Sunday, but if like me you were expecting a better situation at the really visible corner at Merrimac and Staniford, well:








But yes, on the far side of the building, things are a little better:









These are the open falls into the garage the article talks about:





























 

FK4

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^^^
Nice update. But, what really kills the building and makes it a monolithic superblock hog is the fact that you cant walk up the steps on Merrimac to get to the other side. They seriously need to open that up.
 

statler

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Learning to love the world’s ugliest building

Boston Globe said:
Condemned as a fortress and eyesore — dissing it is almost a rite of passage around here, like complaining about the T, or move-in day for college students — it is also the center of our civic attention, in ways that were utterly anticipated five decades ago. The 50th anniversary, and the passage of time, presents an opportunity for a spirited defense of the building Bostonians love to hate.
 

FK4

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In general, I am of the opinion that brutalist buildings (and, really, pretty much all modernist buildings) look their very best at night, especially when well-lit. The HMS/HSPH quads are great at night... one of my favorite spots. The Countway itself is a gem and completely underappreciated, partly, I think, due to its being set back from Huntington. Bonus for the nearly full moon tonight, visible between the Public Health School building and Countway.
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The second quadrangle partly out of view is also nicely done. Devoid of people at night, yes, but not every single public space needs to be crammed with pedestrians to make it a great space. Sometimes the silence and quietude is the superior ethic. I don't even know much about the big, hulking Kresge Building on the right there, but I know I like it, too.
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stick n move

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I think they should keep the courthouse, bulldoze the brute, put a tower on the Cambridge st side of the lot (fill skyline gap), then put a park for the rest of the parcel. Those pocket parks like post office sq are gems and Id love 1 over on this end of downtown serving bulfinch.
 

Charlie_mta

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Brutalism has gotten a bad rap because it is associated with superblocks, plazas and 1960's bulldozer type urban renewal. If many of these buildings were set in a normal street grid without the plazas and setbacks, and with street level retail/activity, they would actually look pretty good.
 

Arlington

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Whew! Lookie here:
 
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Rover

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Its like a list of every ugly building that's ever been built!
 

Charlie_mta

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The other day I saw a 70's vintage concrete building that had recently been painted a dark grey color, and it looked pretty damn good. A lot of the brutalist buildings have badly aged concrete that a coat of paint, or maybe just powerwashing, would vastly improve.
 

Arlington

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Medford MA high school has a whole lotta bare concrete (but also some dark brick accents/details). Does it count as brutalism? Medford is certainly asking itself the "renovate vs dynamite" questions. It opened somehwere around 1971, and is a disaster from an energy-and-HVAC standpoint (lots of single glazing, now leaky, and built without air conditioning)

Whose work is it?

the Medford Vocational high school shares the same building
 

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