High-Tech History by Hacin + Associates

Architecture, East, Envelope
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
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Hacin + Associates' District Hall is the centerpiece of Boston's new Innovation District. (Bruce Martin)

Hacin + Associates’ District Hall is the centerpiece of Boston’s new Innovation District. (Bruce Martin)

Innovation center’s corrugated metal envelope evokes Boston’s seagoing past.

Commissioned to design District Hall, the centerpiece of Boston‘s emerging Innovation District, Hacin + Associates found themselves in a unique situation. “There was no context,” recalled design team member Matthew Arnold. “We were one of the first buildings down there; we had to build our own story.” To fill the gap, the architects looked to the site’s history. “In the old days, goods came from around the world to the Boston seaport, then were distributed throughout the United States,” said founding principal David Hacin. “We were thinking that this is analogous to an innovation center: ideas are born in this place, then distributed around the world.” Wrapped in corrugated metal punctuated by strategic glazing, its two volumes informed by nautical and railroad architecture, District Hall captures both the glory of Boston’s seagoing past and the promise of its high-tech future.

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London’s mayor wants to move major streets underground to make a pedestrian-friendly city

Current image of A408 Southgate  in London (Courtesy TfL)TfL-FlyUnders - A406 Southgate

In recent years, the proliferation of parks, pedestrian plazas, greenways, and bike share programs in cities around the world have signaled an important change in the culture of city-dwellers, one that values walkability, integrated and congestion-free neighborhoods, open space, and environmental health. The major thoroughfares, however, that slice through metropolises are not always conducive with this desired urban experience, and take up space that could otherwise be used for housing, office and commercial uses, and parkland. That’s why London Mayor Boris Johnson is proposing to relocate portions of key road networks underground. And where better to make this announcement than in and around Boston’s infamous “Big Dig” project?

Continue reading after the jump.

Boston mayor wants ideas to overhaul the city’s windswept City Hall Plaza

Boston City Hall, built in the 1960s to resemble the Piazza del Campo in Sienna, Italy. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Boston City Hall, built in the 1960s to resemble the Piazza del Campo in Sienna, Italy. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

If Boston City Hall were a celebrity, it might be a fixture on tabloid “Worst Dressed” lists. The Brutalist building elicits strong sentiments from architectural observers and everyday citizens alike, but most agree the City Hall Plaza could use some sprucing up. In his inaugural State of the City address Mayor Marty Walsh called on residents to help him reimagine the barren, 11-acre brick expanse.

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The New Guard: The Architectural League of New York announces its 2015 Emerging Voices

Levering Trade by Mexico's Atelier ARS (photo: Daniel Maldonado)

Levering Trade by Mexico’s Atelier ARS. (Daniel Maldonado)

The Architectural League‘s Emerging Voices lecture series, now in its 30th year, has reliably identified important new talent through a juried selection process. This year’s group reflects a number of important currents in contemporary practice in North America.

Check out the winners after the jump.

Boston wants to build the most walkable Olympics ever if its selected to host the 2024 games

(Courtesy Boston 2024)

(Courtesy Boston 2024)

As you’ve probably heard by now, Boston blew past the likes of Los Angeles and San Francisco to be selected as the United States’ bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympics. With the announcement official, Boston 2024, the private nonprofit spearheading the bid, has publicly released the presentation it gave to the Olympic Committee back in December.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> California’s Olympic Letdown: Los Angeles & San Francisco lose out to Boston

Eavesdroplet, West
Thursday, January 29, 2015
(Photo by Alik Griffin / Flickr; Montage by AN)

(Photo by Alik Griffin / Flickr; Montage by AN)


Alas, despite being hailed as the favorite to represent the United States in the race for the 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles has lost out to its much older competitor, Boston. LA had pitched what Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed as the “most affordable” proposal, using mostly existing facilities, including the LA Memorial Coliseum, the Staples Center, and even Frank Gehry‘s Disney Hall, Griffith Observatory, and the Queen Mary.

Maybe the USOC isn’t as into a bargain as we thought? Or maybe after giving LA two games they’re just not that into us anymore. San Francisco, by the way, lost out on its bid, which also banked on affordability. Damn, the Olympic Village could have been the only cheap place to live there outside of Oakland!

On View> The Boston Society of Architects digs into the future of typography in new exhibition

Design, East, On View
Friday, January 16, 2015
(Courtesy BSA)

(Courtesy BSA)


Stereotype: New directions in typography
The Boston Society of Architects
290 Congress Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA
Through May 25

The Boston Society of Architects (BSA) is currently exploring the boundaries and possibilities of traditional typography with an exhibition called Stereotype: New directions in typography. To delve into the future of the form—and to raise questions about what is next for it—the BSA is presenting works from 14 up-and-coming and established designers from around the world.

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Los Angeles and San Francisco make bids to host the 2024 Olympic Games

Conceptual rendering of a revamped LA Coliseum and surrounding Expo Park (Southern California Committee For The Olympic Games)

Conceptual rendering of a revamped LA Coliseum and surrounding Expo Park (Southern California Committee For The Olympic Games)

After hosting the Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984, Los Angeles is in the hunt to be the Unites States’ candidate to host them again in 2024. Earlier this week the city made a presentation to the U.S. Olympic Committee, followed by pitches from Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Continue reading after the jump.

Plans released for the largest energy-positive commercial building on the east coast

Rendering of EpiCenter in Boston (Courtesy Behnisch-Architekten)

Rendering of EpiCenter in Boston (Courtesy Behnisch-Architekten)

Behnisch Architekten has big, green aspirations for its latest project, the EpiCenter, fittingly located in Boston’s Innovation District, the burgeoning neighborhood designed for such far-reaching goals. The firm just unveiled plans for a new expanded headquarters for the non-profit, Artists for Humanity (AFH), an organization dedicated to helping underserved youth through paid employment opportunities in the arts.

More after the jump.

Rockefeller Foundation names 35 new cities in its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge

International, Sustainability
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Chicago, one of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities. (Flickr / Conway Yao)

Chicago, one of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. (Flickr / Conway Yao)

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a second batch of cities in its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge. The foundation launched the challenge last year as a way to support resiliency measures in cities around the world. This includes support to hire a Chief Resiliency Officer. One year after the first 32 cities were selected, another 35 have been added to the list, including six in the United States—Boston, Chicago, Dallas, PittsburghSt. Louis, and Tulsa. To see the full list, visit the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge website.

Radlab Makes Music with Moiré

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Radlab's Clefs Moiré brings life to the lobby of a Boston-area apartment building. (Courtesy Radlab)

Radlab’s Clefs Moiré brings life to the lobby of a Boston-area apartment building. (Courtesy Radlab)

Undulating birch walls create pockets of privacy in an apartment building lobby.

When Boston design and fabrication firm Radlab began work on Clefs Moiré, the permanent installation in the lobby of One North of Boston in Chelsea, Massachusetts, they had relatively little to go on. They knew that the apartment building’s developer wanted a pair of walls of a certain size to activate the lobby space, but that was about it. “Normally we get more information, so we can come up with a story—a concept based on the building and its requirement,” said Radlab’s Matt Trimble. “For this we pulled back and said, we have an opportunity to be a little more abstract about how we approach this conceptually.” Inspired by moiré patterning and a harpsichord composition by J.S. Bach, the team designed and built two slatted birch walls whose undulating surfaces embody a dialog between transparency and opacity.
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Architects Join the Circus: Crowd-funded “Architectural Circus” tours the Northeast

Architecture, East
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Circus for Construction (Courtesy The Spectacle Syndicate)

Circus for Construction (Courtesy The Spectacle Syndicates)

The Circus for Construction has taken its gallery-meets-event space on the road this fall, bringing a mix of dialogue and exhibitions on contemporary art and architecture practices, via a custom-built truck, to several east coast cities. After winning a competition by Storefront for Art and Architecture last May, this traveling Circus— conceived by Ann Lui, Ashley Mendelsohn, Larisa Ovalles, Craig Reschke and Ben Widger— got its wheels thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Continue reading after the jump.

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