Homerun for Fenway Center: First Phase of Boston Project Could Break Ground This Year

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
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First phase rendering of Fenway Center in Boston. (Courtesy Meredith Management Corporation)

First phase rendering of Fenway Center in Boston. (Courtesy Meredith Management Corporation)

It was several years in the making, but plans for the massive $500 million Fenway Center project in Boston are finally coming to fruition. According to the Boston Globe the development would bring housing, office space, retail, parking, and a new commuter rail station to the neighborhood. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s administration sketched out a preliminary 99-year lease with John Rosenthal, President of Meredith Management Corp., which enables the developer to move forward with his plans for a sprawling 4.5-acre complex near the ballpark. Once the state board green lights the project, Rosenthal could break ground by the end of this year.

After Two Decades, Boston’s Mayor Menino Moves On.  After Two Decades, Boston's Mayor Menino Moves On Boston’s longest serving Mayor, Thomas Menino, will not be seeking a sixth term. Throughout his two decades in office, Menino has ushered in a number of major development projects, most notably the growth of the area around Fenway and the transformation of the once abandoned Seaport into a vibrant mixed-use waterfront neighborhood with offices, residential towers, and retail. This announcement comes on the heels of Menino’s new proposal, the Housing Boston 2020 Plan, aimed at creating 30,000 new units of housing by 2020. (Photo: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, courtesy Wikipedia)

 

Boston Public Library’s Philip Johnson Branch To Be Renovated

East
Thursday, May 2, 2013
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Boston Public Library Johnson Building (Courtesy Boston Public Library)

Boston Public Library Johnson Building. (Courtesy Boston Public Library)

Library officials and developers hope to give Boston Public Library’s Philip Johnson-designed branch a facelift, but as the Boston Herald reported, local residents question who these proposed changes will really benefit. Standing besides Charles Follen McKim’s 1895 Beaux Arts masterwork on Copley Square, and across the street from the site of the recent marathon bombings, the mid-century monolith, which was completed in 1971, has been likened by many to a bunker or mausoleum and derided for its “greyness” and “bleakness.” With nearly half of Boston’s library users regularly visiting this branch, some think it’s about time for an upgrade.

Continue reading after the jump.

Rockefeller Foundation Issues Grants To Support Bus Rapid Transit

East, Midwest
Monday, April 29, 2013
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Chicago BRT Proposal. (Courtesy CDOT)

Chicago BRT Proposal. (Courtesy CDOT)

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced that four cities will receive a combined $1.2 million in grants to foster research, communications, and community outreach efforts in an endeavor to educate local stakeholders about the advantages of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems. The Foundation’s solution to “Transform Cities” and promote fiscal growth and quality of life proposes better mass transit investments. Boston, Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh will participate in the project.

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Urban Farming Duo Plants Seeds for Boston’s First Rooftop Farm

East
Monday, March 4, 2013
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(Courtesy Higher Ground Farm)

(Courtesy Higher Ground Farm)

While rooftop farming has cropped up in a number of cities across the country, it has yet to take root in Boston. But this will soon change when founders Courtney Hennessey and John Stoddard launch operations of their new rooftop farm, aptly called Higher Ground Farm, located atop the Boston Design Center this Spring. According to CoLab Radio at MIT, the duo will start planting on a 40,000-square-feet segment of the expansive 55,000-square-feet roof within the next few months and be ready to sell the fresh produce by summer.

Continue reading after the jump.

Utile Makes a Splash With Digitally Fabricated Pavilion in Boston

Fabrikator
Friday, January 18, 2013
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Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion. (Chuck Choi)

Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion. (Chuck Choi)

The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion roof channels rainwater for irrigation on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Jump on a ferry in Downtown Boston and in twenty minutes, you’ll arrive at the Boston Harbor Islands, an archipelago of 34 islands dotting Boston Harbor managed by the National Park Service. To entice city-dwellers to make the trip, Boston-based Utile Architecture + Planning has designed a composite steel and concrete pavilion with a digitally fabricated roof for the National Park Service and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance to provide travel information and history about the Islands and a shady respite atop the highway-capping Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Two thin overlapping concrete canopy slabs supported by delicate steel beams provide a sculptural shelter. Utile digitally designed the $4.2 million Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion using Rhino to respond to the surrounding cityscape and serve as a playful rainwater-harvesting system to irrigate the Greenway’s landscape.

Continue reading after the jump.

Big Plans Rolled Out for MassDOT Transportation Improvements

East
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
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Boston MBTA, "the T" (Courtesy of Ccarlstead/Flickr)

Boston MBTA, “the T” (Courtesy of Ccarlstead/Flickr)

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard Davey announced plans for expanding and maintaining the state’s transportation system on Monday. The improvements outlined in the proposal would require an estimated $1.02 billion a year reported Masslive.com, and include everything from adding new tracks at South Station and implementing a commuter rail to South Coast, to major road repairs in Western Massachusetts and a pedestrian and bike program.

One critical component remains rather vague, however—how the state intends on funding this costly agenda. MassDOT suggests a number revenue sources in its proposal such as a green fee (a fee assessed by the amount of carbon emissions released), an increase in tolls and fares, and an income tax that would increase the tax rate from 5.25 percent to approximately 5.66 percent. Governor Deval Patrick is expected to address the transportation plan in his State of the Commonwealth speech tonight, and the Boston Globe reports that he will likely come out in support of a raise in income tax.

Boston’s City Hall Hits The Road

East
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Boston's City Hall To Go Truck. (Courtesy Isabel Leon/City of Boston via WBUR)

Boston’s City Hall To Go Truck. (Courtesy Isabel Leon/City of Boston via WBUR)

What’s on today’s lunch menu? Well for Boston residents it may be a library card, a dog license, or even registration to vote. With Boston’s food-truck-inspired “City Hall To Go” municipal services are no longer bound to one location. A menu of seasonal services are now rolling to locations throughout the city to serve residents less able to travel to the actual city hall or navigate their website. Citizens can also report complaints at the truck.

Continue reading after the jump.

Re-Imagining the Urban Experience at Boston’s Downtown Crossing

East
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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KMDG's Proposal for Downtown Crossing's New Streetscape Design Standards & Wayfinding Program (Courtesy of the Boston Redevelopment Authority)

KMDG’s Proposal for Downtown Crossing’s New Streetscape Design Standards & Wayfinding Program (Courtesy of the Boston Redevelopment Authority)

Condos and retail developments aren’t the only changes coming to Boston’s Downtown Crossing. Cambridge-based landscape architecture firm Klopfer Martin Design Group (KMDG) has been selected by the Boston Redevelopment Authority to design the streetscape plan for Boston’s Downtown Crossing Business Improvement District (BID). In response to an RFP to design the Streetscape Design Standards & Wayfaring Program, BRA received 11 proposals and decided to move forward with KMDG’s program. The long-term plan will consist of recommendations for sidewalk and roadway materials, a pedestrian zone, and vending and wayfinding programs. In its proposal, KMDG outlined its main objectives to “recast the crossing as a public, open space” and “connect the connections.”  According to the BRA, construction is slated to be completed in late May.

More images after the jump.

Beantown Rising: Big Development On the Horizon In Boston

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
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100 Pier 4 (Courtesy of ADD Inc)

100 Pier 4 (Courtesy of ADD Inc)

For Bostonians, cranes and scaffolding have become a common fixture in the city’s landscape. In recent years, there’s been a slew of new developments cropping up everywhere from Roxbury to Fenway, with the bulk of construction concentrated in South Boston’s waterfront, and more specifically in a sub-section that Mayor Thomas M. Menino has dubbed the “Innovation District.” AN has compiled a list of some of the most high profile projects happening in the city.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Balance to Build Commuter Rail Station as Part of Boston Headquarters Expansion

East
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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New Brighton Landing by Elkus Manfredi Architects and Howard/Stein Hudson Associates. (Courtesy Elkus Manfredi)

New Brighton Landing by Elkus Manfredi Architects and Howard/Stein Hudson Associates. (Courtesy Elkus Manfredi)

It has been five decades since there has been a commuter rail station in Brighton, but this will soon change. MassDOT Secretary Richard A. Davey and New Balance Chairman James S. Davis announced this summer that they will build a new Worcester Line commuter station, and just a few days ago, the sports apparel company gave word that it is slated to open in 2014.

Continue reading after the jump.

An Award Winning Recyclable Ribbon of Celebration

Newsletter, Other
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
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ENfold Pavilion, a new temporary landscape installation designed by Perkins + Will in Boston’s Evans Way Park, utilizes natural reusable materials as its base and steers clear of harmful environmental impacts in both its construction and placement. The installation, which was chosen for Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Design Award prior to being realized, celebrates the recent designation of Boston’s Fenway as Boston’s first state-wide cultural district

The permeable light catching ribbon is made of garden bed-liner fabric and is held in place by an invisible network of stainless steel cables. Its organic free-flowing form mimes the grace and movement of the expanse of tree branches above and is loosely woven between their trunks. ENfold’s spatial layout delineates a natural framework for park-goers and creates a natural “stage” for musical performances and other art happenings. The 500 foot long semi-translucent fabric loops its way throughout the entire park echoing wind and light along its way. The fabric will be recycled and used for the Boston Parks Department’s 2013 growing season.

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