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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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.
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.”
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.
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.
At the largest architecture, building and design event in the Northeast, you will find the complete spectrum of companies, people and ideas. Everyone who has a role in the industry comes together at this annual event to conduct face-to-face meetings, experience the newest innovations, participate in cutting-edge conference workshops, and build relationships at high-level networking events. During the two-day show you will meet 300+ exhibitors of all sizes displaying products, services, ideas and innovations. The educational conference program offers 100+ accredited workshops designed to polish skills, spark ideas and offer real world-solutions. Join us for ABX19 taking place Nov. 6-7 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center to walk away inspired to expand your business.
A piece of Boston’s brutalist Government Center has reached the end of the road. The Charles F. Hurley Building, designed between 1962 and 1966 by Paul Rudolph, has been placed on the market by the State of Massachusetts. Citing the building’s challenging layout—the top floor lacks windows on three sides, for starters, according to the Boston Globe’s report—as well as an outdated surrounding urban landscape, Governor Charlie Baker’s office plans to offer up the site for total redevelopment rather than adaptive reuse. The Hurley Building occupies a 3.25-acre site in downtown Boston, near North Station and the MBTA transit lines, and the move to open the site for development is expected to rake in tens of millions of dollars for the state. In pursuing a public-private partnership, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance plans to solicit an official redevelopment partner by mid-2020. The complex will accommodate new uses while retaining office space for some of the several state agencies currently housed in the building. Approximately 675 government employees work in the Hurley Building at the time of writing. News of the redevelopment quickly sparked a movement to save the building, which some consider among Boston’s brutalist treasures. The nearby Boston City Hall, built in 1968, has long been an icon of brutalism, even if it achieved that status through sheer controversy. Many architecture aficionados and critics have praised the Hurley Building's unabashed modernism, while a number of locals consider it nothing more than an eyesore. The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation published a blog post titled “S.O.S: - Save Rudolph’s Boston Government Center,” describing the Hurley Building as “one of Rudolph’s most interesting commissions, and a serious work of urban design.” In a call to action, the blog post encourages readers to leave comments on the Boston Globe article voicing their concerns with the project. Construction on the site is expected to begin within the next few years once the property finds a buyer. For now, the state is formulating plans to relocate its agencies to alternative sites.
Brought to you with support fromBreaking ground later this year, 212 Stuart Street is located on the northern edge of Boston’s Bay Village Historic District between two very different contexts: a midrise commercial corridor and the 19th-century enclave of brick rowhouses. Architecture firm Höweler + Yoon was challenged with bridging these distinctive neighborhoods via a 20-story residential building that is contemporary in design but still deferential to the landmarked neighborhood. The architects found inspiration in the masonry buildings in the area, notably the fluted piers on a nearby 1930s garage dubbed “Motor Mart.” In response, they designed a series of super-scaled precast concrete panels to break up the relatively straightforward massing of the high-rise building into “courses” of varying height.
concrete panels would affect the views from the inside. The concave panels and the overall assembly were optimized in collaboration with pre-casters, who helped the architects realize that it would be more efficient to use nine unique panels than the three they initially proposed. Window walls and glass spandrels complete the envelope. The design is more complex than it first appears, with a lot of movement and deflection that required extensive coordination between multiple systems to create the appearance of a single unified building envelope. “Ultimately, we worked out all the details with the help of the pre-caster, the glazier, the facade consultant, and the architect of record, Sasaki,” said principal Eric Höweler. “It’s a very clear diagram, but it turns out that requires a lot of work to get right.” The design of 212 Stuart Street was a collaborative process during which the architects also worked closely with the Bay Village community—who needed to be convinced. For nearly everyone except architects, concrete has a bad rap in Beantown, and the architects had to prove that they weren’t trying to build another Boston City Hall. The 1930s Motor Mart that inspired their design helped with this: “People thought it was limestone, but it’s actually precast,” noted Höweler. “So we were able to show that there is a way to do precast beautifully. It doesn’t have to look like City Hall.”The facade is constructed from 14-inch-thick concave panels whose rhythms produce a dynamic play of light and shadow; there’s a depth and richness to the facade that echoes the surrounding historic architecture. The design was developed and refined over many iterations and with many physical models. The developer-client was won over by the idea with a small plaster prototype of the fluting but was ultimately convinced with a full-scale foam mockup created to study the lighting effects and to better understand how the deep
Brought to you with support fromRising from a triangular lot in Boston’s Back Bay, One Dalton is a 61-story, 706,000-square-foot residential tower designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Its gently curving triangular floorplan—a direct product of the unique site—is extruded vertically to create the building’s clean but dynamic glass form. The slightly bulging facades and the sheer size of the glass units presented some major challenges when it came to developing the cladding. The glass panels are some of the largest the firm had ever worked with, with a typical unit spanning 12-feet-tall by almost 6-feet-wide with a 30-degree curve. The firm set ambitious goals for the glass beyond the unusual size and shape with specific targets for deflection and distortion, solar and thermal transmission, color rendering, transparency, UV filtration, glare and reflectance, and noise suppression.
Well, it appears as though the next multi-hyphenate celebrity looking to add "architect" to their roster of titles is: You guessed it, Tom Brady. In an interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” the New England Patriots quarterback mentioned he may want to get into residential design after retiring from professional football. “Maybe I’ll be an architectural designer,” Brady said, “because I love building houses." That much may be true. He’s really into personal building projects. Brady and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, have built several homes together, including their 14,000-square-foot Brookline mansion which just went on the market last week for nearly $40 million. Patriots fans have been freaking out over the rumors of its sale, speculating that he’s likely to retire after this upcoming season. Brady squashed the chatter in the WEEI interview, telling fans not to look too much into it. It’s yet to be determined whether fans will believe him—with the sale of the home it means Brady is decreasing proximity to Patriots owner Bob Kraft who owns property next door.
Brady and Bundchen also custom-designed an 18,000-square-foot mansion in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles together. Though they sold it to record producer Dr. Dre in 2017, they clearly put a thoughtful lot of work into the home: It boasts an eco-conscious build-out created in tandem with architect Richard Landry, known as the “King of MegaMansions,” and expensive interior designer Joan Behnke. With the Brookline mansion now up for grabs and their Brentwood home in the hands of Dr. Dre, the question remains whether Brady and Bundchen will take up another design project for their next residence. For now, they'll have their 5,000-square-foot, 5-bedroom condominium in New York to return to in 70 Vestry, a 14-story limestone tower in Tribeca designed by Robert A.M. Stern. Forbes reported that the family moved there in 2017 for $20 million. Should Brady officially go into the architectural profession post-Patriots, he’ll join other personalities such as Kanye West, Brad Pitt, Bill Clinton, and Travis Scott who’ve all expressed interest in design.
Tom Brady & Gisele Bundchen’s Massachusetts home was briefly listed for sale this morning for $39.5 million. Brady paid $4.5M for the land alone where their custom mansion was built. First reported by @NoraPrinciotti. pic.twitter.com/4E7W3EUX0x— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 6, 2019
The United States of America of the 19th century was a civilization in rapid flux, subject to spiraling economic and demographic growth coupled with staggering socioeconomic inequality that manifested in deleterious urban poverty. Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform, on display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston through September 15, 2019, effectively encapsulates the bold visions of the era's patrician reformers with the living conditions of the urban poor that influenced their sweeping plans. The exhibition is curated by Charles Waldheim, the Harvard Graduate School of Design's John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture, Director of the Office for Urbanization, and the Ruettgers Curator of Landscape, and is largely made up of highly-detailed topographical and landscape maps, historical photographs, and personal mementos. According to Waldheim, "the show started with a very simple idea; could we take large urban plan drawings from the 19th century and treat them like works of art?" For Big Plans, Waldheim hones in on four protagonists; Frederick Law Olmsted, the historic doyen of landscape architecture; Isabella Stewart Gardiner, the museum's namesake and prominent member of the Boston Brahmins; Charles Eliot, Olmsted's apprentice and prominent city planner in his own right; and Lewis Wickes Hine, the sociologist and prodigious photographer of the American urban condition. Although contemporary controversies surrounding park construction largely center on budgetary or zoning constraints, the execution of such projects during the 19th century was remarkably radical in ideology and scope. Big Plans highlights the revolutionary nature of public landscape design with an initial focus on Olmsted & Vaux's design for Central Park in New York, juxtaposed with an original hand-colored map by William Bridges for New York's 1811 Commissioners' plan that would place the gridiron street layout of Manhattan. In comparing these two disparate visions of Gotham at the onset of the exhibition, the curatorial direction quickly lays out the reformers' visions of reshaping the rigid rationality of the industrial city into one that cultivated both economic and social progress. The theme of correcting the societal ills of the industrial metropolis is continued in the second room of the exhibition with five-by-seven-inch silver gelatin prints produced by street photographer and sociologist Lewis Hines. Similar to contemporaneous New York-based social reformer Jacob Riis, Hines advocated for photography as an effective tool to prod for social reform. The images are not beautiful; as is the case with much early photography, many are overexposed and out of focus. However, aesthetics were not their purpose. The photos are a searing indictment of child labor, depicting young men and women toiling in industrial mills and sifting through fetid landfills in search of scrap materials. The remainder of the exhibition is largely a collection of drawings that plot out the expansion of the public realm and park space in Boston and Chicago, ranging from the Back Bay Fens to Jackson Park. Absent from the curatorial direction of Big Plans is a perspective from the urban working class and impoverished for whom the grandiose schemes were tentatively laid out for. This top-down perspective was a conscious decision by Waldheim to highlight the uneasy paternalism, or noblesse oblige, of the era's social reformers. While not explicit, the exhibition begs the question of whether this condescension laid the groundwork for similarly grandiose urban renewal plans during the mid-20th century. Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 25 Evans Way Boston Through September 15, 2019
Brought to you with support fromThe rapid development of urban areas across the country is leading to the reappraisal of the commonly found, and often maligned, parking garage. Boston-based architectural practice French 2D has joined this trend by invigorating a drab parking garage using a mesh facade with dynamic graphics intended to serve as a large-scale artistic canvas as well as a functional enclosure. The design of the parking garage’s facade was intended to reference the competing architectural scales and functions of the surrounding Kendall Square. The neighborhood, separated from downtown Boston by the Charles River, is defined by newly built tech hubs, residential buildings, and a fading industrial heritage. For the design team, the primary challenge and objective of the project were to break up the monolithic scale of the existing garage—it is eight stories and measures a whopping 350,000 square feet.
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