Worst Ten Projects of the Decade: 2000-2009

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briv

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All members are encouraged to nominate Boston area projects* completed between 2000-2009 that they believe meet the definition of Worst Project of the decade.

*includes all project types, i.e., building, park, infrastructure project, etc.
 

Ron Newman

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Can we nominate projects that are Worst because they incomplete and taking much too long? I'm thinking of the Green Line station renovations, especially Copley.
 

kz1000ps

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Second the Hotel Commonwealth and Park Lane Seaport.

Also:
Harvard's Memorial Drive graduate housing - the triple decker component!
The gross pink addition to St. Elizabeth's Hospital
Fan Pier phase 1
 

Sicilian

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#3 Hotel Commonwealth
#4 The Fallon Seaport Collection
--------Park Lane at Fish Pier*
--------Fan Pier**
--------Seaport Hotel
--------Westin at BCEC
--------Marriott Renaissance
#5 Archstone Boston Common
#6 111 Huntington Ave.***
#7 Independence Wharf at 470 Atlantic Ave****

* current worst of the "Collection."
** most likely to accelerate up the "worst" list with Seaport full build
*** monument to unparalleled mediocrity
**** IMO, winner of the "worst on close inspection" prize

Numbers intentionally left blank for future use, as other "worsts" are reminded from other posts.
 
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Ron Newman

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It could well deserve to be on both the Best and Worst lists. I nominated it for the other one because it adds a recognizable and generally well-liked landmark to the skyline. Most of our skyscrapers lack any real character when viewed from afar, except for the Custom House, Pru, Hancock (old and new), and International Place.
 

bdurden

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I know this will cause a ruckus but 1330 Boylston makes my list.
 

kz1000ps

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I nominated it for the other one because it adds a recognizable and generally well-liked landmark to the skyline.
I agree, Boston could easily stand a couple more towers of such distinction. Glitzy though it may be, I think it's a solid design, and all those facets serve a purpose: law firms love themselves as many corner offices as they can get.

Ten best of the decade? Maybe not. Ten worst? You'd have to explain that one to me.
 

gooseberry

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111 Huntington - It's cheap and trashy and doesn't belong in Boston. It would look tacky in Las Vegas.

Rose Kennedy Green Way - should not even exist... no amount of pretty weeds or traveling circus merry-go-rounds can fix it.
 

bdurden

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Parts of the Greenway are perfectly acceptable. Other sections should be redeveloped (or developed, specifically the empty North End parcels and the South Station ones). That will go great lengths to defining the park. Give it time.
 

briv

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I dont get the hate for 111 Huntington. Of all the towers in its bleak cluster it's probably the last one I would be critical of. I actually like it, especially at night when it looks like something out of Hugh Ferriss's Metropolis of Tomorrow. The lowrise that went up simultaneously with it, however, I really dislike and nominate for Worst of the Decade. The Belvidere, with its cheap concrete paneled exterior, does much to ruin the vista at the Christian Science Center's reflecting pool. This location called for so much more.

My list, in no particular order:

The Greenway
Seaport Renaissance Hotel
Park Lane
One Marina Park Dr
Silver Line
Mission Hill Hope IV
BU Bio Lab
The Belvidere

Also, I'd like the add the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. It is the singularity around which the banality of the Seaport swirls, devouring any prospects of a real, worthwhile neighborhood ever taking shape. Just a bad idea.
 

Sicilian

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^briv

From Wikipedia: "The building originally was designed with a flat roof, but Boston Mayor Menino disapproved, saying, "Guys, flat roofs don?t make it." Menino chose the present roof out of a set of options the developer subsequently proffered."

Buildings of Metropolis (both of Ferriss and the German expressionist classic film) were much more graceful. There may have even been an application of Leonardo's "Golden Mean" as the Deco buildings stepped up in height -- they look almost organic in form.

The crown of the Huntington mess is self-consciously over-adorned. And the maximization of density below, trumping more elegant possibilities, instead proves that buildings that are nearly 600' in height can still look stumpy.

I am willing to back off in the face of a strong argument on this one. It doesn't stick in my craw as much as others around town. But its extraordinarily prominent location should have hosted something special that perhaps everyone on this board would have agreed on.
 
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briv

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Sicilian, I respect your opinion, but I disagree. And I think the board is at its best when people respectfully disagree.

I'm familiar with the story of the mayor's disaproval with the original design and then being presented with a set of alternatives. It's a great piece of Boston lore and it actually contributes to my affinity for the building itself.

I've always found the crown of 111 Huntington to be understated almost to a fault. In fact, when it was being constructed, I kept looking up at it expecting them to build it out/up because I thought it was incomplete. I think the crown is its finest moment, an exercise in restaint -- very Boston, no?

Anyways, how can anyone get mad at 111 Huntington considering its neighbors? These are some of the worst towers in the city: Trinity Place, Pru Towers, Westin Hotel, the Sheraton. You have to admit 111 Huntington breathes life into this dismal constellation.
 
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