Boston’s ICA looking to expand out from its Diller Scofidio + Renfro home

Architecture, Art, East
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
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ICA Boston. (Flickr / Alun K. Wu)

ICA Boston. (Flickr / Alun K. Wu)

Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is apparently getting a little too big for its Diller Scofidio + Renfro–designed home along the Boston Harbor.

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Inflatable medallion by landscape architect Ken Smith deters evil spirits from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

(Courtesy Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum)

(Courtesy Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum)

An unmissable flower-power medallion on a gold chain now fronts the otherwise plain-though-historic facade of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum facing the Boston Fens. Featuring a whorl of psychedelic colors spiraling dizzyingly, the pop art–style inflatable installation riffs on the museum’s large wheel window, which forms a transect line between the museum and the installation.

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Mecanoo Brings Dutch Craftsmanship to Boston

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Mecanoo and Sasaki's Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building features a curved brick and glass envelope. (Courtesy Mecanoo)

Mecanoo and Sasaki’s Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building features a curved brick and glass envelope. (Courtesy Mecanoo)

Curving brick and glass facade heralds Roxbury’s resurgence.

By locating their new administrative building in beleaguered Roxbury, Boston Public Schools [BPS] made a powerful statement of faith in the area’s resurgence. Read More

Architects will soon suspend this cellulose fiber canopy made from discarded paper in Boston

(Image courtesy of Bigger than a Breadbox competition)

(Image courtesy of Bigger than a Breadbox competition)

Recognizing architects’ increased use of installations for experimentation and prototyping, the “Bigger than a Breadbox, Smaller than a Building” competition awards project proposals that use the medium for spatial exploration.

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This netted, aerial sculpture above Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway looks like lace but is stronger than steel

(Courtesy Melissa Henry)

(Courtesy Melissa Henry)

A multicolored aerial sculpture lords over the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston in spiderweb fashion, casting rippling shadows over the pedestrian-friendly highway topper.

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Anita Berrizbeitia to head Department of Landscape Architecutre at Harvard GSD

Anita Berrizbeitia. (Courtesy GSD)

Anita Berrizbeitia. (Courtesy GSD)

Anita Berrizbeitia has been named as the new chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard GSD. Berrizbeitia is already quite familiar with the department as she is currently a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the GSD and the Director of its Master in Landscape Architecture degree programs.

“Berrizbeitia is a landscape architect specializing in theory and criticism of 19th and 20th-century public landscapes in the United States and Europe, with particular interests in material culture, design expression, and the productive functions and roles of landscape in processes of urbanization,” Harvard GSD said in a press release. “Her research on Latin American cities and landscapes centers on the creative hybridization of local and foreign cultural practices as a response to a centuries-old process of global cultural exchange; the role of large-scale infrastructural projects on territorial organization; and the interface between landscape and emerging urbanization.”

Berrizbeitia will assume her new role on July 1.

designLAB Re-Wraps Rudolph

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designLAB architects conceived of the addition as a vitrine showcasing Paul Rudolph's work. (Jonathan Hillyer)

designLAB architects conceived of the addition as a vitrine showcasing Paul Rudolph’s work. (Jonathan Hillyer)

Transparent addition puts historic Brutalist library on display.

When designLAB architects signed on (with associate architect Austin Architects) to renovate and expand the Claire T. Carney Library at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, they faced a particular challenge: addressing the college’s changing educational and sustainability priorities while respecting the legacy of the campus’ original architect and planner, Paul Rudolph. “We never intended to try to preserve the building 100 percent,” explained designLAB’s Ben Youtz. “It was more about understanding Rudolph’s goals for the project, then re-presenting them to meet current needs.” Read More

Plans advance for Congress Square, a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use project in Boston

Congress Square overview. (Courtesy Related Beal & Arrowstreet)

Congress Square overview. (Courtesy Related Beal & Arrowstreet)

Boston is moving closer to turning an under-utilized part of its financial district into a 24-hour, mixed-used entertainment center. BostInno reported that the Boston Redevelopment Authority held a meeting on the project Monday night, which has been dubbed “Congress Square.”

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Höweler+Yoon combine cutting-edge tech and age-old craft to complete the Sean Collier Memorial at MIT

Sean Collier Memorial. Photo by Scott Newland. Courtesy Howeler + Yoon.

Sean Collier Memorial. (Scott Newland / Courtesy Howeler + Yoon)

On April 18th, 2013, the Boston Marathon bombers went on a crime spree that included the killing of Officer Sean Collier who was shot in the line of duty on the MIT campus. In honor of the slain MIT patrol officer, the university commissioned Boston-based Höweler+Yoon Architecture to design the Sean Collier Memorial—a somber, grey stone structure that marks the site of the tragedy. The heaviness of the unreinforced, fully compressive masonry structure is meant to convey the concept of “Collier Strong,” or strength through unity.

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Beantown Goes Deep Green with ISA

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Interface Studio Architects' 226-232 Highland was the first project built under Boston's E+ Green Building Program. (Sam Oberter)

Interface Studio Architects’ 226-232 Highland was the first project built under Boston’s E+ Green Building Program. (Sam Oberter)

Boston launches a sustainable housing initiative with net-zero energy townhomes.

As anyone who has come into contact with Red Sox Nation knows, Bostonians tend not to believe in half measures. A case in point is the city’s E+ Green Building Program, a joint initiative of the Office of Environment & Energy Services, the Department of Neighborhood Development, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Designed to demonstrate the feasibility of building net-zero energy, multi-unit housing in an urban context, the program made its built debut in 2013 with 226-232 Highland Street, a development consisting of four three-bedroom townhomes in Boston‘s Roxbury neighborhood. The building achieved substantial energy savings on a tight budget in part through a highly insulated facade constructed from conventional materials. “The envelope is key,” explained Interface Studio Architects (ISA) principal Brian Phillips. “We design many super high performance projects and we believe strongly in the quality of the envelope as the starting point.”
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Maya Lin and Shepley Bulfinch selected to revamp Neilson Library at Smith College

Architecture, Development, East
Friday, April 10, 2015
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Smith College's Neilson Library. (Patrick Giblin / Flickr)

Smith College’s Neilson Library. (Patrick Giblin / Flickr)

Maya Lin and the national design firm Shepley Bulfinch have been tapped to reimagine Smith College’s 106-year-old Neilson Library.

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Facade Alterations by Bruner/Cott Turn Steam Plant Inside Out

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Bruner/Cott renovated a 1925 McKim, Mead & White steam plant to create a new student event space for Amherst College. (David Lamb)

Bruner/Cott renovated a 1925 McKim, Mead & White steam plant to create a new student event space for Amherst College. (David Lamb)

Renovation transforms decommissioned McKim Mead & White building into campus event space.

When Amherst College decided to convert a former steam plant into a student event space, the choice likely struck some observers as odd. Designed in 1925 by McKim, Mead & White, the coal-burning plant was decommissioned in the 1960s; since the 1980s, it had been used as a makeshift garage for ground equipment.  The facade of the neglected building needed to be opened up to reveal its potential while respecting its good bones. “It wasn’t in great shape, but it wasn’t in terrible shape,” said Bruner/Cott‘s Dana Kelly. “Impressively enough, the school recognized that it had qualities that could be harnessed for a new student space.” The brick building’s industrial aesthetic was a particular draw, said Kelly, whose firm has spearheaded renovations at the nearby MASS MoCA (itself a former industrial complex) since the museum opened in 1999. For Amherst College, Bruner/Cott took a similar approach, balancing preservation and alteration to support the new program without disrupting the historic building’s essential character.

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