Letter to the Editor> Bosques of Boston’s Past

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

[ 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 editor@archpaper.com]

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

I. M. Pei’s Sunning Plaza in Hong Kong to be Demolished by End of 2013

International
Thursday, October 17, 2013
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Courtesy Trevor Patt / Flickr

Sunning Plaza and surrounding structures as viewed from its public courtyard. (Courtesy Trevor Patt / Flickr)

In architecturally crowded Hong Kong, plazas are a rare breath of open air. The luxurious Causeway Bay district, whose retail rental rates surpassed New York City’s Fifth Avenue in 2012, is home to one of these sparse open spaces, Sunning Plaza. I.M. Pei’s 27-story edifice faces a large public courtyard, a hardscape relief within the densely built area devoted to commercial shops and restaurants.

But, such a luxury is always in threat of expansion. Artinfo reported that developer Hysan will soon be converting the space into additional commercial stores and offices. Pei’s 1982 building is to be demolished by the end of this year and the plaza is going with it.

Read More

Downtown LA Update: Streetcar Moving, Tower Trading, Stadium Stalling?

West
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
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Rumors are swirling about the fate of Gensler's Downtown LA Stadium. But thus far we're still in the dark. (Courtesy Gensler)

Rumors are swirling about the fate of Gensler’s Downtown LA Stadium. But thus far we’re still in the dark. (Courtesy Gensler)

In recent weeks we’ve seen a number of important developments in Downtown Los Angeles, like the groundbreaking of the Arquitectonica-designed apartments on Grand Avenue, and the topping out of The Broad next door. The red-hot area continues to make headlines, from the advancement of its upcoming streetcar to the murkiness of its proposed football stadium.

The latest Downtown LA developments after the jump.

Developer Gone Good? Century Plaza Towers Get Approval

West
Thursday, January 17, 2013
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Century Plaza, with new towers behind and new public space in front. (Pei Cobb Freed)

Century Plaza, with new towers behind and new public space in front. (Pei Cobb Freed and Partners)

Well, it happened. After years of strife over the project, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved the $2 billion, 1.5 million square foot redevelopment of the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. Back in 2009 the developer, Next Century Associates, threatened to tear down Minoru Yamasaki’s curving midcentury Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel to make way for the project. But  a parade of preservationists, including the LA Conservancy and Diane Keaton, stood in their way. The result: a compromise in which the hotel would be preserved by Marmol Radziner and surrounded by two three-sided, 46-story residential towers by Pei Cobb Freed as well as a 100,000-square-foot retail plaza and over two acres of public open space by Rios Clementi Hale. The executive architect is Gensler. City Council certified the scheme’s Environmental Impact Report and approved a 15-year development agreement. Let the construction begin on another major Los Angeles development. Momentum is building.

Another view after the jump.

CUNY’s Brick Paneled Back-to-Schoolhouse to Open at WTC

East
Thursday, August 2, 2012
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Brick panels being installed at CUNY's Fitterman Hall this past spring.

Brick panels being installed at CUNY’s Fiterman Hall this past spring. (Stoelker/AN)

In a neighborhood of glass and steel, Fiterman Hall stands out. The new building, part of the CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College downtown campus, is designed by Pei Cobb Freed and sits adjacent to the World Trade Center. The 17-story building is fronted in large prefabricated red-brick panels rhythmically relieved by square glass windows revealing multilevel interior atria. At a cost of $325 million, this is not your grandmother’s little red schoolhouse.

Continue reading after the jump.

The World’s Best Tall Buildings Combine Curves and Sustainability

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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Doha Tower façade (Jean Nouvel)

Doha Tower façade (Jean Nouvel)

On June 13th the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced their choices for this years best tall buildings in the world. The CTBUH, an international not-for-profit association, picked four regional winners, including the Absolute Towers in Mississuaga, Canada for the Americas; 1 Blight Street, Sydney for Asia and Australia; Palzzo Lombardia, Milan, representing Europe; and Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar for the Middle East and Africa. These four buildings were recognized for making “an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and for achieving sustainably at the broadest level,” according to a statement from the CTBUH. Additionally, the Al Bahar tower in Abu Dhabi won the first ever Innovation Award for its high-tech computerized sunshade.

Continue reading after the jump.

Slideshow> WTC Update: Compare and Contrast, Then and Now

East
Friday, February 3, 2012
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One World Trade in January of last year (left) and today.

One World Trade in January of last year (left) and today.

It’s been one year since we began walking the circumference of the World Trade Center site and taking photos of the progress. A lot can happen in a year. The city and state are in a tussle over the Memorial Museum  bringing construction there to a halt.  Larry Silverstein has threatened to cap Tower Three at at seven stories instead of 80 if he doesn’t get a lead tenant by the end of the year.  Pat Foye, the new head of the Port Authority has called the PA’s Trade Center focus a “mission drift” and ordered a special committee to audit the years overseen by his predecessor, Chris Ward.  And now The New York Post reports that the underground loading dock for One World Trade won’t be completed by the time the first tenants move in.

News from the last couple of months has been so bad that we thought we’d sift through some of our old photos to focus on the work that was completed over the past year.  And while One World Trade continues its march upward (it’s nearing the 1,776 feet), other projects on or near the site are almost complete or are on schedule to be finished in the next couple of years. Brookfield‘s renovations of the World Financial Center have begun. Work at Fulton Street Transit Station by Grimshaw continues to chug forward. CUNY’s Fiterman Hall by Pei Cobb Freed was recently capped.  And a new visitors center for the memorial opened on West Street.

Read More

Activists Press On for AIDS Memorial at Triangle Park

East, Newsletter
Thursday, December 1, 2011
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A view looking east through the Triangle Park plan by M. Paul Friedberg (courtesy Westside Healthcare Coalition)

A view looking east through the Triangle Park plan by M. Paul Friedberg and Partners. (courtesy Westside Healthcare Coalition)

On the eve of World AIDS Day, dozens crammed into the City Planning building in downtown Manhattan where the Rudin Organization presented plans for the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site at a Universal Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) hearing.  The commission is set to vote on the plan on January 24, but over the last few months yet another issue has emerged at the long contested site. Activists from the Queer History Alliance continue to press for an AIDS Memorial to be placed at a proposed park across the street from the former hospital, which was considered ground zero during the height of the AIDS crisis.

Read More

Crocodile Tears for I.M. Pei’s Terminal 6

East
Thursday, October 6, 2011
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I.M. Pei's Terminal 6 will be demolished. (Courtesy Amiaga Studios)

I.M. Pei's Terminal 6 will be demolished. (Courtesy Amiaga Studios)

Terminal 6 has been on Death’s Row at least since June 2010. So why are so many aflutter now? It’s an old adage but a persistent one: It hasn’t happened until the New York Times reports it, or until there’s a television tie-in as newsworthy as the cheesy jet set-orama, “Pan Am” on ABC.

Continue reading after the jump.

BandAid for OToole

East, East Coast
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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Could the "Overbite Building" be saved by St. Vincent's failure. (AllWaysNYC/Flickr)

Another entry in the good bad news department today, as the Post breaks the big story that St. Vincent’s hospital in Greenwich Village is on the verge of bankruptcy again. According to the tab, crosstown rival Continuum Health, which runs Beth Israel, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt hospitals is prepared to take over the city’s last remaining Catholic hospital, and it could close many of the hospitals services, such as surgical and in-patient care, and possibly even the emergency room, one of the few on the west side of Manhattan. So how is this good news, that this critical hospital might close? Well, that pride of place, combined with the first bankruptcy, was part of the reason St. Vincent’s used to justify its major expansion and real estate deal with the Rudins, which would have created a new hospital by Pei Cobb Freed and a huge condo project by FXFowle. Now all that could be in doubt: Read More

Plummeting Pei

East, East Coast
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
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The new Goldman Sachs headquarters in Batter Park City loom as large as the company that will occupy it.

The new Goldman Sachs headquarters in Batter Park City loom as large as the company that will occupy it. (Matt Chaban)

Goldman Sachs has been much in the news lately for its continued blockbuster bonuses as much of the workforce continues to languish. But the new headquarters for the company designed by Harry Cobb has also made headlines for some time now thanks (or no thanks) to construction accidents. The latest occurred this weekend, when glass panels fell in the middle of the night from the 38th floor onto the West Side Highway, shutting it down for a few hours according to the Post. The Tribeca Trib also reports the accident also shut down a Battery Park City ice rink that was set to open Sunday, delaying the inaugural opening by a day. What’s worse, though, is the Trib says construction managers knew about a crack in the panes that precipitated their fall but delayed fixing it. Read More

Trouble for Chiofaro?

East
Monday, July 13, 2009
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KPFs proposed Boston Arch (left) and the neighboring Pei Cobb Freed-designed Harbor Towers. (Courtesy KPF).

KPFs proposed Boston Arch (left) and the neighboring Pei Cobb Freed-designed Harbor Towers. (Courtesy KPF).

A double whammy came last week for Boston developer Don Chiofaro’s Boston Arch project, which we first wrote about last month. On Thursday, The Boston Business Journal ran a story suggesting Chiofaro was stuffing the BRA’s mailbox with letters supportive of his KPF-designed project, while the following day it reported that the aquarium the project was meant to improve feared for the worst.

The letters are part of the redevelopment authorities public comment period, and among them was one from the president of the Boston Aquarium who wrote that, according to the Journal, “the project threatens the long-term viability of the Aquarium.” Read More

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