Posts tagged with "Boston":

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In tribute to Michael McKinnell, the Heroic architect behind Boston City Hall

On Friday, March 27, British-American architect Noel Michael McKinnell died of pneumonia after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 84. McKinnell, who was born in Manchester, England, received his initial architecture training at the city university, first traveled to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship. He studied for his master’s in architecture at Columbia University, which he completed in 1960. At Columbia, he encountered the German architect Gerhard Kallmann, who would soon become a mentor figure. After hearing about a public competition to design a new city hall for Boston, the pair developed a design that drew on elements of the contemporaneous Brutalist movement. They were announced the winners and opened a Boston office in 1962. Their joint practice continues to this day, with a rich portfolio of largely institutional buildings. Yet the firm—and McKinnell—remains associated with Boston City Hall, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year. The following tribute reflects on McKinnell’s complex relationship to the building.  We first met Michael McKinnell and Gerhard Kallmann in 2007 at the outset of the Heroic project, our effort to document Boston’s late twentieth-century concrete buildings, which had become largely unloved. At the time, Boston City Hall was broadly vilified, dismissed as obsolete, and in danger of being demolished. Even in such a moment of threat, Michael was surprisingly open to the idea of his building changing. Far from upholding the original design as a masterwork fixed in time, he explained to us that he felt it needed “younger ideas” and that whatever modifications were in store for its future, they should be “bold and self-confident.” Younger ideas were part of his thinking from the very start. When he and Gerhard won the competition among 256 entries, Michael was only 26 years old—landing perhaps the most important public commission of the era. Later, as the world was exploding in the protests and civic unrest of the 1960s, this fearless young man explained the design for its enormous lobby to a reluctant City Council as an ideal setting for the democratic staging of dissent. Naive or not in his political idealism, to him it was always the “people’s building.” To us, Boston City Hall reflected the era’s aspirations to invest in the civic realm and the desire to represent a new political order for a New Boston. Michael and Gerhard sought to ingrain these ideals into the building’s DNA, embedding their faith in public life into the matter of its concrete. It would be a framework open to change, as they later wrote, a “robust armature” meant to “engage successive generations of the citizenry in [its] embellishment, decoration, and adornment.” Our relationship with Michael, which began with distant admiration, grew over a dozen years into friendship. We interviewed him multiple times, gaining a deeper understanding of his work and personality. Starting as an exhibition and later forming a book, we had originally conceived of the Heroic project as a way to recast the public conversation surrounding concrete architecture. In large part because of Michael, the center of these efforts soon shifted from documenting buildings to preserving the voices of those who designed them and the civic aspirations that shaped them—a legacy of ideals rather than a mere history of matter. Those same dozen years also allowed us to witness a transfiguration in Michael. While we came to know him late in his life, we most often talked about the beginning of his career, before he and Gerhard had fully formalized their shared practice which produced distinguished buildings across decades. He easily re-inhabited that youthful vision—in our eyes, he only got younger as we spoke candidly about his early principles and failures. Boston City Hall itself underwent a similar transformation. Endangered by one mayor in the early 2000s, we watched with admiration as the building was being feted by another on its fiftieth anniversary in 2019. The event echoed with Michael’s rousing words, delivered in that same enormous lobby, about his undiminished hopes for City Hall’s future. But it was Michael’s own humor that reminded us of the fragility of modernist voices like his, and of their need to be heard again. When the Getty Foundation selected Boston City Hall for a prestigious grant to prepare a conservation management plan (or CMP), Michael was quick to congratulate the team, and then quipped: “I am now in search of a CMP for myself.” Michael always seemed keenly aware of how the legacies of people, ideas, and buildings were interwoven in time. His final comment in the Heroic interview was on the aspirations of the era to make “something that would endure,” and of the hubris of imagining Boston City Hall as worthy of becoming a ruin in five hundred years. “The making of architecture is imbued with hubris,” he said, “because we challenge our own mortality.” In City Hall, we recognized, he had challenged his. If the building lasted—if the hopes cast into its concrete could be fully realized—so would he. Warm and gregarious, fascinating and funny, incisive and generous, Michael’s reminiscences were always imbued with meaning. One joyful highlight was a lunch he and his wife Stephanie Mallis invited us to in their Rockport home in 2018, accompanied by the architecture critic Robert Campbell. Sitting with a distant view of the ocean, we shared stories and toasted to lost colleagues over the course of four hours on a beautiful summer Tuesday. The camaraderie, too, seemed like it could go on forever. Noel Michael McKinnell was born on Christmas Day in 1935 and passed away last Friday afternoon at the age of 84. Through our friendship with him, what began as a fascination with a past era became a commitment to transmit a living set of ideas. We labeled them “heroic” for their civic aspiration, and as a way of acknowledging the hubris that characterized so many of those ambitions and the figures who advocated for them. But Michael’s lofty ideals were always tempered by his youthful energy and his mischievous sense of humor. If we ever got too serious, he liked to rib us a little. With a glint in his eye, he would delight in proclaiming: “They used to call me Brutalist. Now I say ‘I’m Heroic!’” Chris Grimley, Michael Kubo, and Mark Pasnik are authors of Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston, published by The Monacelli Press in 2015. Grimley and Pasnik are principals at the architecture and design firm OverUnder. Kubo is an assistant professor at the University of Houston.
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Elkus Manfredi Architects’ Pier 4 joins Boston’s Seaport with undulating massing

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Boston’s Seaport District is no stranger to development; the 23-acre site lies east of the Fort Point Channel on the Inner Harbor, and over the last two decades has transformed from a largely barren deindustrialized waterfront to an effective extension of the city's core. Pier 4, a 400,000-square-foot mixed-use project designed by local firm Elkus Manfredi Architects, is an exemplar of this trend and proposes an alternative to boxy glassed massing with staggered floors and eye-catching soffits of aluminum composite panels. The project is located immediately adjacent to the HarborWalk and the Institute of Contemporary Art and is prominent from both an urban and visual standpoint. Considering its location, the city dictated that the bulk of the building’s ground floor be dedicated for public use—the lobby can be passed through by pedestrians and features a range of retail spaces. In keeping with the project's public-facing manifesto, the primary entrance, in a particular flourish, is surrounded by a prismatic display of polished and reflective aluminum. From this base, the tower rises to a height of 13 stories.
  • Facade Manufacturer AGC Interpane Alucobond Ferguson Neudorf Glass
  • Architect Elkus Manfredi Architects
  • Facade Installer Ferguson Neudorf Glass Turner Construction (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultant Heintges
  • Location Boston
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom unitized curtain wall system
  • Products AGC Interpane Ipasol Platin 52/36 Alucobond aluminum composite panels
For the design team, there were two primary views that dictated the tower's massing; that towards downtown Boston and the other facing the harbor. “The west facade, facing downtown Boston, has a more subdued gesture with a trapezoidal cut-out terrace,” said Elkus Manfredi Architects vice president Christian Galvao. “The east facade, facing Boston Harbor, has two-story undulating triangular moves that shift and slide between each other, creating a constant movement that changes throughout the day.” Clad in high-end solar control 1 1/4" insulated glass units produced by AGC Interpane, the project follows the standard erection and installation techniques of a unitized system. Each floor-to-floor unitized panel measure 5' by 12'8" and are divided by mullions and horizontal ‘kiss mullions’ at the slab edge. Ferguson Neudorf Glass handled the installation and fabrication of the facade, including the 1/8" thick aluminum composite plates found at the soffit of each floor plate which are held by a custom-designed system of cantilevered beams. According to Elkus Manfredi Architects, one of the greatest challenges of the project was ensuring its timely and seamless construction and completion. “The unitized curtain wall system could have no major delays during the erection of the pre-fabricated glazing panels and in-field waterproofing installations,” continued Christian Galvao. “The amount of detailing in the advance construction documents, shop drawing reviews, and performance mock-up testing were crucial to its success.”  
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Boston imposes citywide moratorium on construction

Boston has suspended construction activity throughout the city as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Monday that the moratorium on construction work would go into effect on Tuesday, March 17, and construction sites need to be secured by March 23.

Walsh’s action comes after he declared a public health emergency in Boston, postponed the Boston Marathon, and canceled the St Patrick’s Day Parade over infection concerns. It makes Boston one of the first cities or districts in the U. S., other than those in complete lockdown or quarantine, to ban construction activity as a way of fighting the coronavirus. The move comes at a time when the city and region are booming with construction activity, from affordable housing to high-rise office buildings. Walsh did not say how long work will be suspended, but he indicated it’s likely to be at least 14 days.

“Effective tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we are suspending all regular activity on construction sites in the city of Boston,” Walsh said in a briefing yesterday. “The only work that we are anticipating right now moving forward in the city will be emergency work” approved by the city’s Inspectional Services Department.

“These decisions that we make are not easy, but they’re out of an abundance of caution,” he added. “It’s about protecting the worker and preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

“This is a critical time for us right now… I think if we can prevent the spread from happening and try and level the virus off, we’ll be in a better position long term.”

The mayor said he didn’t have an exact figure for how many construction projects are affected by his order, but he knows it is substantial.

“It’s massive, massive,” he said at the briefing. “I don’t have a number. It’s tens of thousands. We’re in the middle of a boom right now, and…today is a difficult decision to make… Construction is at the core of our economy here in Boston. I come out of the trades. I was a construction worker myself. This is something that is very personal to me and to a lot of us.”

Mayor Walsh added that city officials will monitor the situation closely to determine when the moratorium can be lifted.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we ‘re looking at 14 days potentially, and then we’ll revisit it and hopefully they can be the first workers back to work.”

The moratorium is “something that we’re going to be monitoring literally week to week,” he said at another point. “Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be able to change the policy. But right now, out of an abundance of caution for the workers on the job site and to prevent spreading the virus, we want to make sure those workers are safe.”

According to a statement posted on the city’s website, the city is instructing employers to “maintain necessary crews to keep their sites safe and secure, keep any materials from blowing away, and prevent trespassing. This work needs to be completed in the next week, by Monday, March 23, 2020.” Once sites have been secured, the message said, skeleton crews will be permitted on site “for the remainder of the suspension” to ensure safety, but no construction activity can take place.

Walsh said Boston has 33 confirmed cases of Boston residents with COVID-19 as of Monday, March 16, and the construction moratorium is part of a multifaceted effort to address the spread of coronavirus.

“The coronavirus is one of the greatest public health challenges that our city has ever faced,” he said at a press briefing. “Our primary objective right now is to slow the spread and flatten out the curve so that our medical centers don’t get overwhelmed. This strategy is crucial to helping our most vulnerable residents and make sure that we can rebound from this as soon as possible.”

According to Walsh’s order, the only exceptions to the construction ban are: “emergency utility, road or building work,” such as repairing gas leaks, water leaks and sinkholes; new utility connections to occupied buildings, mandated building or utility work; work that “ensures the reliability of the transportation network,” work on facilities that support “vulnerable populations,” and work needed to make occupied buildings “fully habitable.”

Walsh said the city may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis for “essential” projects that “support increased public health and safety.” But he said new projects cannot be started after March 17, unless approved by the city. In his briefing, Walsh said he hopes employers don’t fire their employees as a result of his action.

“I want to remind Boston employers that we’re in a robust construction market,” he said. “Boston is home to a talented, hard-working construction workforce and when we get back to work as usual, employers need to bring these workers back and the right thing that we need to do right now is to lay them off and not fire them.”

Meanwhile, one state away, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he wants to increase construction of at least one type of building, medical facilities, and he wants the federal government to do it.

“Let’s bring in the Army Corps of Engineers and let’s start building temporary medical facilities because we know we’re going to need them,” Cuomo told CNN. “As many as we produce, if we started today, as many as we can produce, we would need twice.”

Cuomo said he has confidence in the Army Corps of Engineers to move quickly and complete projects that individual states need but don’t have the resources to take on. New York State has one of the highest volume of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, more than 600 people.

“The Army Corps of Engineers builds. I used to be in the federal government. I worked with the Army Corps of Engineers. They build bridges. They build airports. They’re builders. They’re engineers… They build. Let them come in, build with me.”

Cuomo also said he can identify state-owned properties that can be retrofitted to accommodate coronavirus patients. “I’ll find an old dormitory, an old nursing home. Let’s convert it to a hospital and let’s do it quickly so we have some backup space when the wave crashes on the health care system.”

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Henry N. Cobb dies at 93

Henry N. Cobb, American architect and founding partner of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, has passed away. Originally named I. M. Pei & Associates, the firm was founded in New York City by Cobb, I. M. Pei, and Eason H. Leonard in 1955. Their first building, the Gulf Oil building in Atlanta, Georgia, was completed four years prior to the official founding of their office. As a subtle yet unmistakably Miesian office building, its completion allowed the firm to quickly enter the American late modernist movement with a wide range of projects including Montreal’s Place Ville Marie (1962), Syracuse's Everson Museum of Art (1968), and Portland’s Museum of Art (1983), for which Cobb served as lead designer. Though his firm left behind a significant portfolio of buildings—over 250 in more than 100 cities, according to their own profile—an outsize portion of that legacy can be found in his native city of Boston, Massachusetts. Cobb was the lead designer of John Hancock Tower, the tallest building in New England and one of the firm’s most famous buildings in its nearly 70 year history. Though its mirrored facade was initially controversial for its proximity to the Trinity Church in Copley Square when it was completed in 1976, its sharp lines and clever siting went on to win the firm a National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) the following year. Cobb later went on design other projects throughout his hometown, including Moakley US Courthouse & Harborpark (1998), Harvard University’s Center for Government and International Studies (2005), and 30 Dalton (2016). Like his working partner Pei, Cobb seemed to have never considered retirement as an option. At the age of 91, Cobb published Henry N. Cobb: Words & Works 1948-2018a 548-page monograph highlighting 70 years of design alongside his essays and transcripts from his many lectures. Reviewing the book in Log Journal, Jeffrey Kipnis called it “a tour de force of writing[...] ingenious, complex, gripping, hilarious, poignant, and profound for any reader.” The following year, Cobb presented a lecture that was projected on stage during Facades+ Boston that highlighted his work on Boston’s One Dalton, one of the architect’s last projects. Cobb passed away at the age of 93, one month shy of his 94th birthday on April 8.
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A net-zero, cross-laminated timber apartment complex will rise in Boston

Thanks to support from the U.S. Forest Service and the Softwood Lumber Board, developer Placetailor and Boston-based architecture firm Generate have collaborated to design a carbon-neutral apartment block in Roxbury, a neighborhood in the south end of Boston. Named Model-C, the 5-story, 19,000-square-foot building will contain 14 residential units above an affordable co-working space on its ground floor. Model-C will be assembled using a cross-laminated timber (CLT) kit-of-parts and will be net-zero energy and net-zero carbon for its first decade of operation. The CLT rooftop will allow for the easy installation of solar panels, and the building’s walls will be insulated with natural mineral wool. The entire building, including bathroom “pods,” will be prefabricated in sections off-site and assembled from the ground up to reduce the need for scaffolding. Its plans have been certified by PassivHaus and meet the standards of the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development’s “Zero Emissions Standards,” part of the city's Climate Action Plan. Once complete, Model-C will be one of the only totally timber buildings in Massachusetts, and one of the least energy-intensive buildings in America. Generate sees Model-C as a demonstration of a modular cross-laminated timber system the firm will apply to other sites in response to different topographical conditions and coding requirements. “Over the past year,” the firm's website states, “Generate has been transitioning out of the academic setting of the MIT Mass Timber Lab, and into industry by actively seeking progressive developers to deploy its first demonstration project, which they hope will serve as a catalyst in the Greater Boston area, and eventually in North America.” While mass-timber buildings are currently limited to six stories in North America, Generate is currently exploring the application of their system to buildings as tall as 18 stories tall in response to the 2021 Tall Wood building codes. The project received zoning approval last September and construction is expected to begin this June. Given the expediency of the prefabrication method developed by Placetailor and Generate, as well as the elimination of an interior framing system, the project can be completed as early as winter of next year.
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Barkow Leibinger and Sasaki create a radiant, net-zero ArtLab for Harvard

The Berlin-based Barkow Leibinger, with the help of the Boston-based architect of record Sasaki, has created the adaptable, translucent ArtLab for Harvard. As the university expands across the river into Boston’s Allston neighborhood, they’ve been developing an ArtYard—a contemporary, arts-focused answer to the walled Harvard Yard in Cambridge. Barkow Leibinger’s brief was to create an adaptable, net-zero-energy building that offered space to meet the many programmatic needs of different disciplines working side-by-side. The 9,000-square-foot ArtLab is arranged in a pinwheel configuration, providing spaces for artmaking, research, classes, and performances. It also has studios for artists-in-residence, a sound lab and recording studios, and an open workshop in the building’s center. “We were designing the building, but also designing the programming,” explained Frank Barkow, cofounder of Barkow Leibinger. “Different programs had to be in close adjacency to each other: studios, workshops, film editing suites, those sort of things.” Previously, disparate creative fields were spread across the campus, many with limited space, said Barkow. In the ArtLab, “different arts are in close proximity to each other,” he said. “You've got fine artists working close to film, close to performance, close to dance. It was important that the ArtLab acting as an incubator with different creative practices in close proximity to each other.”  The ArtLab also had to be temporary, or at least portable. Made of a steel frame that’s been mechanically fastened and clad in insulated glass and polycarbonate panels, the building is not only lightweight in visual character, but in physical design. Placed on grade on a concrete slab, it can be quickly dis- and re-assembled as the spatial needs of the expanding campus evolve. “It’s what I call basic Kmart construction,” joked Barkow. “It’s open web, steel joints, glazing, polycarbonate, chipboard, plywood. It’s quite simple.” He added that the firm is used to designing factories and inflected the art building with an industrial element. “It’s robust. They can knock it around. They can beat it up. In a way, it’s much less precious than the historical buildings that make up much of the Harvard campus.”  While a polycarbonate envelope is common for industrial construction in Europe, it’s used less frequently in the United States, which was a challenge for the local architects of record. Sasaki undertook “a lot of research and testing,” according to Sasaki principal Lan Ying Ip. “To our knowledge, there has never been a net-zero building designed with a polycarbonate facade,” she said. Sasaki’s director of technical resources, Brad Prestbo, added that when working with the material “all the fundamental design moves that you normally make really have quite an impact on the overall performance of the envelope.” Sasaki also worked to create a custom system that could meet the solar heat metrics required by the energy model. And, not only is the continuous envelope well-insulated, but every aspect of the building is electric-powered by photovoltaic cells on the roof and requires no fossil fuels for heating. The polycarbonate was used throughout as both a barrier wall and as part of a rain screen assembly. “Oftentimes, the same piece of polycarbonate would transition between those two states,” explained Prestbo. The project had to use both opaque and transparent polycarbonate to hide mechanical elements and while creating an overall translucent effect, and making it appear as a “light box” at night. More than purely aesthetic, transparency is also a guiding conceptual feature. “[Harvard] wanted the building to be a kind of mediator between the neighborhood’s community and the campus,” explained Barkow. “It’s meant to be open. It's meant to be inviting. The public can come in and see what’s going on.”
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Massachusetts considers partial- to-full removal of Paul Rudolph’s Hurley Building

The future of the Paul Rudolph-designed Boston Government Service Center (BGSC) rests in the hands of the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Last October, the state announced the redevelopment of the Charles F. Hurley Building and this week, a new report was sent to the commission detailing four options for the Brutalist structure in downtown Boston that include partial or full demolition. Produced under the auspices of the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, the document is the result of deep dive by engineers and architects into the Hurley Building and its notoriously challenging interior layout. The first option explores removing a small part of the 237,000-square-foot structure to make way for a new, high-rise construction. A pedestrian-level walkway would splice throughout the site in an effort to open up the complex to the street. Each of the other options considers demolishing half, two-thirds, and eventually the entire building for the contemporary tower, respectively, with added urban design elements thrown into the mix.  In the coming months, the Massachusetts Historical Commission will either green light or scrap these options. If one or several are seriously considered, it could help bidding developers make more informed decisions about their individual plans for the 3.25-acre site. AN previously reported that solicitations for a development partner are expected to be issued by mid-2020 and that construction slated to begin within three years. The state is also making moves to relocate the various agencies and 675 government employees within the Hurley Building ahead of future work. Part of the allure for preservationists lies in the fact that it’s a Paul Rudolph design. Located just yards away from the 50-year-old Boston City Hall designed by Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles—which is currently undergoing a five-year-renovation, the Hurley Building and the rest of the complex further connect locals to Rudolph’s legacy of Brutalism in the city. One group, the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation, believes the report didn’t fully acknowledge the fact that Rudolph designed the building from 1962 to 1966, which could hurt its case in the eyes of the historical commission. “They fully note the importance of his design guidelines for the project, and his direct work on the other [Lindemann] building—but are weaker on acknowledging the intensity of his influence on the design of the Hurley Building,” the foundation stated in a press release on its website.  This debate has been going on for quite some time and it’s unclear just how serious the state will take preservation. What is clear is that Massachusetts’ Governor Charlie Baker prefers to completely redevelop the site with little focus on adaptive reuse. 
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Pelli Clarke Pelli’s massive South Station tower will finally begin construction

After more than a decade, developers of a 2.75-million-square-foot air rights complex are aiming to begin construction this month atop Boston’s historic South Station. Headlined by a 51-story Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed tower, the Hines-led project was first approved by the City of Boston in 2006 and given a redesign in 2016. Investor reshufflings and related negotiations for the air rights deal, which closed in late December per the Boston Business Journal, have held up the massive project and turned it into “one of the biggest what-ifs in Boston-area real estate.” Now, the start of construction seems imminent for the South Station tower, which will emerge from the ninth floor of the transit hub and rise to a height of 678 feet—a notable elevation given that the city’s tallest building hits its peak at 790 feet. Current plans call for 641,000 square feet of office space, 166 condominium units, 6,000 square feet of retail, and parking for nearly 900 cars across the glassy, stepped tower. The project also includes a 106,000-square-foot expansion of South Station’s bus terminal. Developer Hines has noted its intent to preserve the Classical Revival train station while allowing for its future expansion. The National Register of Historic Places-listed structure was designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge (now Shepley Bulfinch) and originally opened in 1899. Additional buildings are planned for the phased air rights project, too, including a 349-foot-tall hotel, and a 279-foot-tall office building, both of which will be constructed atop South Station and join Pelli Clarke Pelli's mixed-use tower. It is, however, unclear when these components will begin construction. The kickoff at South Station follows on other major air rights and transit center expansion projects in Boston, including a 1.26 million-square-foot air rights development planned for Back Bay Station, a 1.3 million-square-foot air rights complex designed by The Architectural Team (TAT) now underway at Fenway Center, and late December’s topping out of a major office tower at the Gensler-designed The Hub on Causeway above Boston’s North Station.
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Construction begins on the towering Center for Computing and Data Sciences at Boston University

Boston University will soon receive a tower that could make its campus an architectural destination up there with those of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University on the opposite side of the Charles River. Toronto-based firm KPMB Architects and national building contractor Suffolk broke ground earlier this week on a 19-story tower for the university's new Center for Computing and Data Sciences. When completed, the tower will be the university's first major teaching center in over 50 years, as well as the campus's tallest building. With nearly 350,000 square feet of interior space, the new center will combine Boston University's departments of mathematics, statistics, and computer science under one roof to further interdisciplinary research in the field of data science. The building's verticality and distinct profile were designed to maximize opportunities for interactivity among its students and faculty while signaling the university's emphasis on STEM research to the world abroad. The terra-cotta-colored envelope was chosen to stand out against the campus's primarily grey buildings. The project's largely transparent ground floor will occupy nearly the entirety of its rectangular site to draw the public in, as well as to complete the streetscape along Commonwealth Avenue, the university's main thoroughfare. The facility will be the largest carbon-neutral building in Boston since the Boston Climate Action Plan Update was enacted in 2019, which aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases for all newly constructed buildings in the region. The facility will not only be fossil fuel-free but will also feature energy-efficient elements including advanced solar shading devices, geothermal energy production, and triple-glazed windows. The cantilevering design makes room for several green roofs and balconies that will bring occupants closer to fresh air and city views. While the materiality of the building was not resolved when KPMB's proposal was first showcased in 2018, the cantilevering floor plates were carried through to the final design. Construction is expected to move quickly as the project is slated to be completed by 2022.
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Mikyoung Kim and DiMella Shaffer will design Boston's first LGBTQ-friendly senior housing facility

  Boston will get its first LGBTQ-friendly senior housing facility, designed by Boston-based architecture firm DiMella Shaffer and landscape architecture by Mikyoung Kim Design. On November 13, the Public Facilities Commission voted to convert Hyde Park’s former William Barton Rogers Middle School, a 120-year-old building, into a 74-unit complex for mixed-income people age 62 and up, including units for homeless seniors.  The facility, which is the city's first of its kind, will provide staff and residents with training to ensure an LGBTQ-friendly environment. However, the complex will be open to all seniors with none set aside specifically for LGBTQ people, as anti-discrimination laws require. The news coincides with the opening of the Marvel Architects-designed, first LGBTQ-friendly affordable senior housing facility–the largest in the country–in New York City, and represents a growing recognition of the need for housing among this demographic.   The $32 million renovation will be developed by Pennrose Holding LLC in partnership with the nonprofit LGBTQ Senior Housing organization, with funding coming from a combination of public money and private loans. According to The Boston Globe, the 98,000-square-foot former school building will be mostly preserved. Additions and updates will include an outdoor courtyard as well as a community space, and an art gallery showcasing the Civil War-era 54th Infantry Regiment of Hyde Park, which was made up of volunteer African-American soldiers fighting for the Union. Pre-existing amenities such as the school gymnasium will be renovated to hold indoor physical activities.  “With the housing boom Boston has been witnessing, we need to ensure housing for our seniors, especially for the underserved LGBTQ community,” said Philippe Saad, Associate Principal at DiMella Shaffer. “Innovative partnerships like this one will serve as a model for opportunity. It paves the way towards integrating older adults in their community by  providing spaces that are inclusive and multigenerational by design. This project will also further the city’s age-friendly initiative and Imagine Boston 2030 as we head into 2020.” The development is significant for addressing the needs of a twice-vulnerable population. According to the City of Boston’s Commission on Affairs of the Elderly's 2014 “Aging in Boston” report, four-in-ten senior Bostonians live on household incomes of less than $25,000, and half experience a high-cost burden of housing. For LGBTQ seniors, this is compounded by the issue of finding safe and accepting housing situations.  “The number one issue for LGBT seniors is housing. There’s a huge panic about where we’re going to go when we can’t take care of ourselves,” Bob Linscott, assistant director of the LGBT Aging Project at Fenway Health told The Boston Globe. "There’s a big fear of going to a place where people will be bullied and harassed by the same people who bullied and harassed them decades ago.”
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Harvard taps Studio Gang and Tishman Speyer for new innovation campus

Harvard University is getting larger. The Cambridge-based institution has long-planned to diversify its physical presence in Boston and has finally chosen a developer and several big-name architects to lead the build-out of its innovation campus in the nearby Allston. New York real estate firm Tishman Speyer was selected out of a large bid for the highly-sought-after project, as well as partner studios Henning Larsen, Utile, Studio Gang, and SCAPE. According to The Boston Globe, the team will transform 14 acres of Harvard’s land ownings across the Charles River into the 900,000-square-foot Enterprise Research Campus. “Capturing the spirit of innovation of the Enterprise Research Campus, our design will transform a former industrial site into a fertile new ground for the exchange of ideas and creative expression," said Jeanne Gang, lead architect of the project, in a statement. "We envision a neighborhood brought to life with low-carbon buildings and resilient green spaces that foster community and connect people to their natural environment." Rob Speyer, Tishman Speyer’s chief executive, also told The Globe the site would be developed in partnership with city officials and residents of Allston and will be the first phase in a series of developments totaling 36 acres dedicated to research, learning, and community. “This is going to be the furthest thing from a technology fortress,” said Speyer. “This is going to be a neighborhood, a neighborhood that embraces the diverse community around it.” Allston, though small and largely residential, boasts almost 30,000 people, many of whom are immigrants. Students and young professionals make up the majority of residents, which makes sense given the neighborhood's proximity to Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The new research campus, meant to house a mix of offices, labs, a 250,000-square-foot hotel and conference center, as well as up to 300 apartments, will be located across from the university’s business school and the nearly complete science and engineering complex designed by Behnisch Architekten.  According to The Globe, the number of affordable homes on site has yet to be determined, although Harvard has a commitment to the city requirement of at least 13 percent. Another important part of the research campus will be its role as a start-up incubator. It’s been reported Tishman Speyer is partnering with the Cambridge-based shared space company LabCentral on the project.  A completion date for the Enterprise Research Campus has yet to be announced.
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Boston architects come together to make a 3D-printable map of the city

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) has long kept 3D models of its city. However, cobbled together over the years, the files are at times cumbersome and as firms increasingly turn to 3D printing for model making and testing, not so useful. Printers don’t know how to process them or they are not designed in a way that print with stability. MakeTANK, an initiative of the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) saw this as an opportunity. MakeTANK was initially started to “integrate maker culture into the design process,” according to Sasaki director of technical resources Bradford J. Prestbo, who has been intimately involved with the project along with the rest of the firm. The hope was to leverage the many makers and maker spaces in the greater Boston area, and help architects increase client engagement and decrease contractor risk—and cost—by testing their designs out first. “Imagine going into a restaurant where the chef only wrote recipes and has never actually cooked them,” said Prestbo, half-joking. “That's kind of like the architectural profession today, where we just do a lot of paper architecture and paper designs without going through the process to actually taste what we've coupled together to make sure it's actually an effective solution that also will perform long term.”  City Print is MakeTANK's latest project, just announced at ABX19, though it’s been under development for over a year. The collaborative team of architects that came together for City Print developed a series of scripts that helped turn the existing models of Boston into “watertight solids,” meaning that when processed in Grasshopper they can be effectively fed into 3D printers. They also added additional topographic details. The process, however, could not be fully automated. The files have to be individually opened, the scripts ran, and all of it double and triple checked for quality control. To help convert the over 200 model tiles of the city to be 3D ready, MakeTANK has enlisted the “who’s who” of Boston-area architects. “We are engaging in the greater AEC community to help us process the tiles,” explained Jay Nothoff, Sasaki fabrication studio manager, “and then turning around and handing this resource back to that same community as a finished project for everyone to enjoy and use as they will further project work.” The revamped models will be added to the BPDA's free repository and the BSA is using them themselves. They’ll be replacing their lobby's current scale model of the city—the basis of which was originally designed in the 1980s and is mostly focused on the financial district—with a new, modular replica made from these printed files. “We're zooming out from the financial district,” said Nothoff. “We're including the City of Boston in its entirety and we're making a model that is easily updated because it is built off a grid system. As portions of the city change and grow, these titles are semi-precious at best; they're just going to be held in place with magnets so we can pull the tile and put a new one in its place to most accurately represents the City of Boston in its current state.” Felipe Francisco, an architectural designer at Sasaki, went on to explain that many community groups didn’t feel represented by the previous BSA model. “We're open to try and create a new dialogue with those groups,” explained Francisco. “We want to use this as a resource for community groups to be able to come in and use this model to diagram stories over it through projection mapping about their communities.” By collaborating with visualization experts, the BSA is developing tools to use the re-built model as a storytelling and visualization device. “The intention is to build a base projection for the model itself that delineates roads, waterways and what have you,” said Nothoff. On top of that could be layered information on sea-level rise, income data, other metrics, or more abstract visuals. “We're reaching out to various organizations throughout the greater Boston area, such as the Boston Foundation, to help us gather all the voices that are currently feeling underrepresented and give them equity with his model and teach them how to use the projection map on to the model and tell their story.” The process is ongoing. Interested area firms can “check out” tiles from a grid of the city, and for a dose of healthy competition, check out a leader board. “You grab a tile, fill out a form, and submit it and shortly thereafter you get all the support files and the working files and scripting as well as instructions on how to process them,” explained Prestbo.