[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent article, "Softening Boston’s City Hall." It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN03_03.05.2014. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ]
With regard to the proposed landscape interventions in Boston’s City Hall Plaza: This welcome news brings to mind the Illustrative Site Plan prepared by our firm in 1961 (above) to accompany the Government Center Urban Renewal Plan. As our drawing shows, we envisioned the space between Tremont Street and the new City Hall not as a paved plaza but as a quiet lawn crossed by footpaths and populated by deciduous trees, in the tradition of a New England town green.
From Los Angeles to Chicago, city governments across the nation have been following San Francisco’s early lead and popping up parklets on their streets, mini sidewalk-side public parks for rest, small group gatherings, and people watching.
This summer, Boston joined in on the trend, installing its first parklet in Mission Hill in September and another in Jamaica Plain at Hyde Square. While these spaces have seen success in other cities, the Boston Globe reported that the Boston parklets have shown disappointing usage during what should have been their prime season.
Harvard’s Holyoke Center, designed by renowned Catalan architect and former Dean on the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Josep Lluís Sert, will soon be undergoing major renovations, university President Drew Faust announced last Thursday. London-based Hopkins Architects, the designers of Princeton’s Frick Chemistry Laboratory and Yale’s Kroon Hall, have signed on to transform the 50-year-old, cast-in-place administrative building into multifaceted campus center by 2018.
Calling all landscape architects and urban designers. Are you heading to Boston for the 2013 American Society of Landscape Architects Conference? I am. On Saturday, November 16, I’ll be reviewing projects and portfolios during a “Meet the Editors” event, alongside colleagues from a variety of shelter, design, and garden publications. There are still a few open spots, so sign-up or just drop by and introduce yourself. I hope to see you there. Also, check out this year’s ASLA award winners designed by students and professionals. Great work!
Construction has commenced on a new $500 million Elkus Manfredi–designed headquarters for New Balance Athletic Shoes, called New Brighton Landing, located on 14 acres in the Allston Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Besides the 250,000-square-foot world headquarters, the campus will also include additional office space, a sports complex, 175-room hotel, three office buildings, retail space, parking, and a new stop on the Worcester Line commuter rail. The new station will be fully subsidized by the athletics brand. Overall, the new facility will encompass nearly 1.5 million square feet.
Reprogramming the City
Boston Society of Architects Space
290 Congress Street, Suite 200
Through September 29
BSA Space presents a mixed-media exhibition, Reprogramming the City, curated by urban designer Scott Burnham. The works on display—videos, photographs, media stations, renderings, models—explore how the built environments of cities around the world are being retrofitted to accommodate new urban inhabitants and visitors. The exhibit also includes examples of urban infrastructure and systems that are being reimagined to reinvent a more functional urban landscape. There are 40 innovative examples from London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, and Boston that seek to develop new ways of urban design from within the city.