Posts tagged with "Boston City Hall":

Placeholder Alt Text

New glass pavilion housing a Sephora opens next to Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Elkus Manfredi Architects' shiny new Sephora has claimed a coveted corner of the historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace, adding yet another style of architecture to downtown Boston. The 5,670-square-foot store sits on a triangular site in the northern corner of the marketplace along North Street, across from Boston’s Brutalist City Hall (1968) and facing the Greek Revival–styled Quincy Market (1826). The small glass pavilion’s transparency stands in stark contrast to the brick and concrete structures that surround it. With its fluid form and free flowing metal roof system, the project is unmistakably contemporary. “We feel that this 21st century transparent building not only highlights Sephora’s brand image, but allows the nearby historic 18th century Faneuil Hall and 19th century Quincy Market landmark buildings to shine,” said Howard Elkus, founding principal of Elkus Manfredi Architects, in a press release. The new store is part of a larger master plan proposed by Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation (AAC), which is striving to refresh the market and introduce more accessible programming to downtown Boston. The proposal met some controversy at first, as tenants feared they would be outbid by national chains and the market would lose the eclectic shopping for which it has become known. AAC explained that their hope is to provide new reasons for visitors to come to the market and not to rid if of its historic charm. “We are excited about the arrival of Sephora as it fills a void in the retail scene in downtown Boston,” said Joe O’Malley, general manager of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, in a press release. “Sephora brings a new type of consumer to the marketplace, one of many new initiatives in the near future.” As the master plan continues to transform the Marketplace, AAC aims to strike a balance between local businesses and national brands like Sephora and Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing brand who opened their Boston flagship store in Quincy Market in 2015. They hope this curated mix will help make Faneuil Hall Marketplace a year-round destination for tourists and locals alike.
Placeholder Alt Text

Boston is getting lit tonight at City Hall

Tonight, the City of Boston is getting lit. The city is opening up City Hall Plaza, the front lawn of Boston's best-known (and most-hated) Brutalist building, to food trucks, carnival style–games, and beer-swilling citizens to celebrate its latest attempt to gussy up Government Center. Attendees at Light Bright Beer Garden, this year's last Beer Garden on the Bricks, will witness a colorful light display on the angular concrete massing so deliberately stripped of ornamentation. The official promotion video below gives a hint of the light display in action: If early online comments on the event are any indication, bright primary-school colors might not be enough to make jaded Bostonians love architecture firm Kallmann McKinnell & Wood's difficult creation. YouTube user Shaun Beacham writes: "We're sorry the building looks like a prison, but we put some lights on it and now it's a colorful prison!" A few pints in, Shaun, and it might not look so bad! The event begins at 6:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall Plaza. Can't make it? Follow 
Placeholder Alt Text

Boston’s City Hall Plaza set to become year-round leisure zone

For decades, there have been plans to transform Boston's City Hall Plaza, the windswept concrete wasteland, or triumphant frame around an outstanding piece of Brutalist civic architecture, depending on your view. Now, the plaza is poised for a major makeover into a year-round leisure zone. Mayor Marty Walsh has prioritized the revitalization of the barren plaza with the launch of Rethink City Hall! Last summer, the city installed an Astroturf front lawn and solicited ideas for a redesign from Bostonians. Other plans called for an urban habitat with micro wind turbines and stormwater-collecting planters. The City has signed a three year contract with hospitality management company Delaware North (which also own TD Garden and New York's Rockefeller Center ice rink). Concept plans call for a 200-foot-tall, 42-gondolas Ferris wheel, a restaurant and beer gardens, a summertime beach, a winter garden with ice rinks, curling, and hot chocolate, as well as interactive public art installations, including a massive selfie-ready sign that spells out #BOSTON. The contract raises an all-important question: Who's paying for this? The City states that no public funds will go towards the project, although Delaware North is willing to invest more than $15 million dollars, on the expectation that it will recoup its investment in a revenue-sharing agreement with the City. Although free beer would be nice, some of the amenities will be fee-based. The proposals still need to be opened for public comment and city approval, The Boston Globe reports. To ensure the project's financial viability, Delaware North would like Boston to commit to a longer contract. The company is also seeking corporate partners to help pay for the project. Construction on the winter garden and a temporary restaurant is set to begin this October.
Placeholder Alt Text

As Boston continues to ponder its Brutalist city hall, professor suggests covering the behemoth with a glass veil

Like so many Brutalist buildings around the word, Boston's iconic City Hall has not necessarily endeared itself to the public. Since it opened in the 1960s, there have been calls to update the building, completely overhaul it, and to demolish it outright and start over. There have, of course, also been calls to preserve it. The latest idea to revamp City Hall comes from Harry Bartnick, a Suffolk University professor, who wants to cover the structure with a tinted glass curtain structure. In an op-ed in the Boston Globe, he called the idea "simple, obvious, and cost-effective." "The generally outward sloping angle of the glass would impart a feeling of greater stability, and redistribute the visual mass toward the ground," Bartnick argued. "Translucent glass would allow the original wall-surface variations to still be seen, but now softened by filtration through the glass 'veil.'" He continued that the intervention would help the building's efficiency by establishing a "climate-controlled, passive solar interior environment." There are no plans to actually move forward with this project, but, as Bartnick noted, his idea comes as the area undergoes major changes including a new residential tower by César PelliBoston Business Journal also recently reported that Center Plaza, a 720,000-square-foot, mixed-us complex nearby, is set to receive a $25 million facelift. Along with new retail tenants, the CBT Architects–led transformation will update exterior walkways, street-level lobbies, and the existing rooftop.
Placeholder Alt Text

Boston mayor wants ideas to overhaul the city’s windswept City Hall Plaza

If Boston City Hall were a celebrity, it might be a fixture on tabloid “Worst Dressed” lists. The Brutalist building elicits strong sentiments from architectural observers and everyday citizens alike, but most agree the City Hall Plaza could use some sprucing up. In his inaugural State of the City address Mayor Marty Walsh called on residents to help him reimagine the barren, 11-acre brick expanse. Boston City Hall Plaza is an inductee into Project for Public Spaces’ "Hall of Shame" and rated on par with Barbie’s Dream House by California Home and Design. But perhaps the city can help elevate the windswept space. Even in a city replete with 18th-century Georgian-style churches, the plaza, built in the 1960s, has long been an architectural bane. Walsh’s administration has spruced up the interior somewhat, revamping the 3rd floor mezzanine and installing the Stairs of Fabulousness by artist Liz Lamanche to inject a sorely needed pop of color, but the Brutalist face of the building belies these improvements. The administration has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to gather the data required to take concepts from the drawing board to actualization. Last year, AN reported the municipality’s master plan for revitalization designed by Utile Architecture + Planning with Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture, but other than the replacement of the bunker-like Government Center subway station with a sleek steel-and-glass exterior, little else has been done, notes local news site Bostinno. Other plans announced last year involved replacing a labyrinth of staircases with sloped walkways to ease access to City Hall from the subway station, installing seating, and resolving frequent flooding by planting trees in an open-joint permeable brick paving system to simultaneously green the concrete expanse. Big players the likes of landscape architecture firm Halvorson Design and architecture and engineering firm HDR had signed on. This year, Mayor Walsh’s administration is sizing up plans for a city-sponsored seasonal skating rink to be named “Frozen Harbor” as well as a 20,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed restaurant called “Polar Bar”, according to Boston Herald. Officials have not made headway with securing permits and no project costs or plans have been put forward yet.
Placeholder Alt Text

Letter to the Editor> Bosques of Boston’s Past

[ 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. As we imagined it, this was to be the last in a series of green spaces stretching from Commonwealth Avenue to the Public Garden to the Common to the Burial Ground and thence to Government Center. Had this concept been realized, the resulting open space might have been more inviting to casual use and less vulnerable to the charge of having promised a celebratory urbanity that it could not deliver. In any case, the current effort to bring the Plaza to life through strategically placed bosques of trees is commendable. Henry N. Cobb Pei Cobb Freed & Partners New York