Shreve, Crump & Low Redevelopment | 334-364 Boylston Street | Back Bay

stellarfun

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The copied excerpt below is from a staff memorandum of October 2008 [yes, that long ago] to the BRA. The excerpt approvingly discusses proposed materials and massing.

As Druker did little or nothing after receiving BRA approval, he had to re-file, which he did in 2019. The only apparent material change from what was approved in 2008 is this:
As part of the Notice of Project Change for Lapse of Time ('t\PC for Lapse of Time"),the Proponent may consider retail/restaurant space on the second floor of the Project.
From the October 2008 memorandum:
The original design presented to the community and to the BRA Board on August 12,2008, at a duly advertised public hearing, was felt to require additional refinement and redesign prior to approval. The original design of the building appeared to be overly monolithic and would not create a lasting impression appropriate to this prominent location. At the August 12,2008 public hearing, the BRA Board, based on BRA staff recommendation, took the project votes under advisement for consideration at a future meeting until BRA staff felt that the Proposed Project had made the necessary design changes to allow it to recommend to the Board conceptual design approval with continuing BRA design review.

The original design presented to the Board on August 12th and shown in the Project Notification Form ("PNF") and Draft Project Impact Report ("DPIR") attempted to create a new commercial structure for the 21st century that was respectful of Back Bay's rich architectural traditions. However, the building massing, fenestrations, materials and texture did not blend with its surroundings in the way needed to allow for approvals to be granted.

Since the Augustlz,2008 Board Meeting, the Proponent and Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects have collaborated closely with the BRA Staff to respond to architectural design concerns raised during the public review process. Such issues as massing, scale, corner expression and richness of detail have been the primary focus at this conceptual design phase.

The new proposal continues to exhibit a strong base, shaft, top architectural approach, but significantly alters the massing and scale strategy by distinctively articulating the Arlington Street façade from the Boylston Street façade. In addition, a setback has been created at Floor 7 along Boylston Street, and the typical glass bays have been shortened as well as narrowed. The result is a massing and scale approach that echoes the footprint of the original Arlington Street building and better relates to neighboring properties along Boylston Street and the Back Bay. The overall mass of the building will appear less imposing while providing a more appropriate corner expression at the intersection of Boylston and Arlington Streets.

Regarding richness of detail, the new proposal uses the refined massing as an opportunity to utilize different textures and colors of granite, limestone and possibly, terra cotta to further differentiate and highlight the features of the building. Also, materials such as architectural metal work, custom ceramic frit patterned glass, and greater variety of window types will provide additional fenestration and depth to the façade system.

The retail base of the building will continue to exhibit high quality materials and detailing. Articulated granites accented with custom designed light fixtures will frame wood storefronts with large expanses of glass to encourage pedestrian movement and retail interaction.

Original team
The Druker Company - Proponent, Ronald Druker & Harold Dennis
Pelli Clarke Pelli - Architects, Cesar Pelli*, Fred Clarke & Mark Shoemaker
CBT Architects, Robert Browry James Monteverde
* Pelli died two years ago

Current team
The Druker Company - Proponent, Ronald Druker
Rohert A M Stern Architects,, Megan L. McDermott, Principal, AIA
CBT Architects, Alfred Wojciechowski, Principal, AIA
 

Equilibria

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Original team
The Druker Company - Proponent, Ronald Druker & Harold Dennis
Pelli Clarke Pelli - Architects, Cesar Pelli*, Fred Clarke & Mark Shoemaker
CBT Architects, Robert Browry James Monteverde
* Pelli died two years ago

Current team
The Druker Company - Proponent, Ronald Druker
Rohert A M Stern Architects,, Megan L. McDermott, Principal, AIA
CBT Architects, Alfred Wojciechowski, Principal, AIA
Is there a way to file a complaint with the AIA? I'd like disbar anyone associated with this.
 

stellarfun

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????!!!!

RAMSA is willingly putting their name on this?!?
My two cents of conjecture.

There is no reason that Stern need sign on as executive architect as CBT can carry Pelli's torch, unless Stern is/was engaged to do a re-design.

If there is a re-design, it has yet to be revealed. The 150 space parking garage approval being sought appears to be a step to preserving an approval of a cap exemption, allowing said number of spaces,, and not a sign that construction is imminent.

Druker is 77 years old. Interview with Druker in May 2020
https://www.bisnow.com/boston/news/...en-ron-druker-well-come-back-from-this-104379

in which he suggests that no construction unless tenants have signed on.
Regarding the 240K SF project at 350 Boylston, Druker said that his company is making proposals via Zoom, and so far has received two requests for proposals that the company has responded to.

"There's interest in the building," Druker said. "The advantage that we have now is that we're taking steps to make the building more hygienic."

With only one to four tenants, he said, 350 Boylston will be relatively simple to enter and leave, and that ought to be an advantage for the building as well, he said.
 

nm88

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How was this a hard decision for the BPDA? The neighborhood, the building, the corner, the street, both streets, home to a former Boston institution - all this didn't carry the day for some manner of preservation? Okay, not the full block, I get it, I begrudgingly see the argument - but why not this building, the facade, something, anything? Boston is a city of mixed blocks, after all. And to be replaced by what has been proposed?

Honestly, who among us can even consider this, let alone discuss it, with a straight face?

Fire Brian Golden.
 

Equilibria

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How was this a hard decision for the BPDA? The neighborhood, the building, the corner, the street, both streets, home to a former Boston institution - all this didn't carry the day for some manner of preservation? Okay, not the full block, I get it, I begrudgingly see the argument - but why not this building, the facade, something, anything? Boston is a city of mixed blocks, after all. And to be replaced by what has been proposed?

Honestly, who among us can even consider this, let alone discuss it, with a straight face?

Fire Brian Golden.
As noted previously this was approved in 2008. Brian Golden joined the BRA in 2009, at least per his LinkedIn page.
 

stellarfun

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^^^Boylston St. facade. November 2020., Google Streetview. Ground floor, with Art Deco motif, looks not to be original.



^^^Arlington St. facade. November 2020. Original owner/builder cheapened the facade. Arguably, the downscale buildings opposite at the time probably didn't deserve the expense of carrying the Boylston facade around the corner. Hard to argue that this facade is worth preserving. But all the same, I would have expected this on an alley, not on Arlington St.



^^^Arlington St church. Early on, the hullabaloo over the proposed height of Druker's replacement building centered on shadows being cast on the Tiffany windows in this church.. The Google streetview is early November, and the sun looks to be about 3-4 PM. It appears the existing building does not cast a shadow during hours when the church might be occupied. But more importantly, some of the Tiffany windows are missing, replaced by regular glass windows. (There are 12 windows, in total.) WTF? Hard to go to bat for windows that are hidden away somewhere.



^^^ Close-up of three windows that appear to be part of the Tiffany windows, and a window to the right, which is ordinary glass.

https://www.asctiffany.org/windows

^^^Images of the 12 Tiffany windows.

I think it a fair question to ask whether the original Boylston facade can be preserved to last another 75 years, or is this another Little building in which the facade must be re-cast to replicate the original, and installed. That the Arlington facade was 'value engineered', or whatever it was called back in the day, is disappointing. But more critically, what other significant economies were taken during the construction of this building?
 

Life Coach Mike

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^^^Boylston St. facade. November 2020., Google Streetview. Ground floor, with Art Deco motif, looks not to be original.



^^^Arlington St. facade. November 2020. Original owner/builder cheapened the facade. Arguably, the downscale buildings opposite at the time probably didn't deserve the expense of carrying the Boylston facade around the corner. Hard to argue that this facade is worth preserving. But all the same, I would have expected this on an alley, not on Arlington St.



^^^Arlington St church. Early on, the hullabaloo over the proposed height of Druker's replacement building centered on shadows being cast on the Tiffany windows in this church.. The Google streetview is early November, and the sun looks to be about 3-4 PM. It appears the existing building does not cast a shadow during hours when the church might be occupied. But more importantly, some of the Tiffany windows are missing, replaced by regular glass windows. (There are 12 windows, in total.) WTF? Hard to go to bat for windows that are hidden away somewhere.



^^^ Close-up of three windows that appear to be part of the Tiffany windows, and a window to the right, which is ordinary glass.

https://www.asctiffany.org/windows

^^^Images of the 12 Tiffany windows.

I think it a fair question to ask whether the original Boylston facade can be preserved to last another 75 years, or is this another Little building in which the facade must be re-cast to replicate the original, and installed. That the Arlington facade was 'value engineered', or whatever it was called back in the day, is disappointing. But more critically, what other significant economies were taken during the construction of this building?
RE: Tiffany Windows. The full display that was intended is not only still there in completion, but has been fully restored with new, clear lexan protective panes. The blanks you see on the first floor are merely covers while the restoration was being done several years ago. The clear glass window was intended to be clear from the beginning. Go inside and check out how beautiful and rare this collection is. That said, the other side of the church is in an alley and has to endure shade nearly all the time so that the windows, while showing well, are not as bright as those on the Boylston St. side. And you can't tell me that the proposed building as it stands now is superior to those it's replacing....It's just not in keeping with the rest of the block...what's wrong with preserving the facades involved? It was very successful for the Kennedy building on Summer St., for example.
 

chrisbrat

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simple question (from a simple dude): is there anything, at this point, to actually be done about this? i'll write any number of emails, make calls, show up for in-person meetings -- but i don't wanna waste my time if it's a foregone conclusion that this lovely, historical facade is going to be done with.
 

stellarfun

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simple question (from a simple dude): is there anything, at this point, to actually be done about this? i'll write any number of emails, make calls, show up for in-person meetings -- but i don't wanna waste my time if it's a foregone conclusion that this lovely, historical facade is going to be done with.
Way back when, 15 years or so ago, the Boston Landmarks Commission twice chose not to preserve it. (Also, Druker was a favorite of Menino, IIRC.)

Yvonne Abraham penned this op ed back in 2008. It probably captures the sentiment of most on the board. Headline for her op ed Smashing a jewel
It looks as if the old Shreve, Crump & Low building is history.

Developer Ron Druker plans to raze the 104-year-old limestone building at Arlington and Boylston streets, kitty-corner from the Public Garden. He says he is going to replace it with a couple hundred thousand square feet of luxury office space and amenities.

And in the process, he is going to wreck one of the city's loveliest intersections. He is planning to level a distinctive building - in a city that needs more of them - in favor of nine stories of corporate glass and stone.

The eclectic former Shreve flagship (officially, it's the Arlington Building) might not be perfect, but it's lovely all the same. Its ornate copper cornice, classical pilasters, and floral motifs give the neighborhood a quirky elegance. And it's right for that history-rich corner, across from Arlington Street Church and the statue-lined south side of the Public Garden.

But according to the Boston Landmarks Commission, the Arlington Building isn't valuable enough to protect. Twice, the commission decided the building is not sufficiently architecturally significant beyond its neighborhood. This in spite of the fact that Boston is a city of neighborhoods, and of the jewelry emporium's storied past, and of its location at the center of a historic district that is one of the city's most valuable assets.

Preservationists and some Back Bay residents are beside themselves over the demolition. One of the building's champions is suing to reverse the decision, but it's unlikely the Arlington Building will get a reprieve.

Which brings us to its replacement.

Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

That inexplicably moribund block of Boylston Street, between Arlington and Berkeley, definitely needs developing. And Druker has done some nice buildings in Boston - Atelier 505 at Tremont and Berkeley, for example. But the Cesar Pelli design he is planning for this site isn't shaping up to be one of them.

Blocky and dense, the renowned architect's proposal is singularly unspectacular. Like so many buildings constructed in the last two decades, it gestures awkwardly toward the city's history instead of moving in a new direction, its enormous bay windows and its segmented façade echoing a row of brownstones. It's incredibly tame, unlike Pelli's other models.

If you're going to break people's hearts by erasing a beloved building rather than incorporating it into a new development, then for heaven's sake, propose something truly spectacular in its place.

But this keeps happening. While they seem to be getting the hang of edgy design on the other side of the river (bless you, MIT and Kendall Square), Boston's streetscapes keep collecting generic genuflections to 19th-century architecture and samey glass towers.

Rarely, something amazing gets through - the ICA at the Seaport or the Apple Store farther up Boylston - but they're exceptions that prove the rule.

Much of what happens to Boston's skyline has both preservationists and design devotees wringing their hands in despair. Of course it's not practical to preserve every one of the city's historic buildings. Some of them could even do with a good knock-down.

But there seems to be no ambitious citywide vision for what gets leveled and what replaces it. The Boston Redevelopment Authority, which should be laying out an independent plan for the city, is so tightly controlled by Mayor Thomas M. Menino that what gets built often depends on which developers have his ear. And the mayor, never shy about sharing his design preferences, tends toward somnolent safety. Developers eager to get projects off the ground anticipate the objections and play it too safe.

Boston is special, but no matter how much we try, we can't re-create the 19th century. That approach guarantees only that we'll end up with a second-rate version of what we already have.

We need higher standards. We need more creativity. We also need something else: to be brave.

Druker is 77; he apparently is not going to build on spec. Near-term, apt to be a surplus of office space in downtown Boston, rather than a tight market. And you have to wonder why Robert A M Stern is now listed as the architect, replacing Pelli; surely not to do interiors..

And uh, that facade is 118 years old.
 

JeffDowntown

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Way back when, 15 years or so ago, the Boston Landmarks Commission twice chose not to preserve it. (Also, Druker was a favorite of Menino, IIRC.)

Yvonne Abraham penned this op ed back in 2008. It probably captures the sentiment of most on the board. Headline for her op ed Smashing a jewel


Druker is 77; he apparently is not going to build on spec. Near-term, apt to be a surplus of office space in downtown Boston, rather than a tight market. And you have to wonder why Robert A M Stern is now listed as the architect, replacing Pelli; surely not to do interiors..

And uh, that facade is 118 years old.
The Druker office projects (this and the one in the South End on E. Berkeley) have to be in suspended animation, right? No one is going to finance extra office space right now. People have to be assuming that there is a glut of excess space that has to work out after the pandemic subsides.
 

stellarfun

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As for the Boston Landmarks Commission, what a farce.

https://www.boston.gov/sites/defaul...petitions_as_of_july_2019_-_chronological.pdf

Shreve Crump and Low was denied in 2006, and 2008. Bostonians will surely be pleased to learn that designations of Horticultural Hall, Symphony Hall, Museum of Fine Arts, and the William Lloyd Garrison house were still under review in 2019, with designation petitions having been submitted eight years earlier.

Re: Kennedy's on Summer St. Facade preserved in 1985 by edict from the BRA
The facade of the Kennedy's building shall be renovated along Summer Street and reconstructed along Hawley Street in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding by and among the Developer, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Landmarks Commission
dated October 1983.

So where there is a will, there is a way. The Boston Landmarks Commission had denied a petition to designate Kennedy's.
 

DZH22

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FK4

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Please don't bump threads that are 6 months old without anything new to add. That stuff belongs in here:
I disagree with that. He's not bumping a dead thread with no updates by asking about updates; he's responding to a conversation about an active issue, but the conversation simply died on its own a few months ago. The travesty that is this site and the related local governmental decisions deserves ongoing debate.

Read upthread and you'll see that someone in February DID bump the thread asking for an update, was chided for this, but nonetheless it generated further conversation for another page.
 

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