Posts tagged with "Boston":
A five-acre redevelopment of Boston’s Bulfinch Triangle will replace a much-maligned concrete garage
“This part of the city is not as dependent on automobiles as everybody imagined it would be,” said Kishore Varanasi, principal and director of urban design at Boston-based CBT Architects. The firm is working with the HYM Investment Group to redevelop the area. Fellow CBT principal David Nagahiro added that today approximately 1,200 cars use the garage on a daily basis.
Echoing their 1960s predecessors, CBT and HYM have big, transit-oriented plans for the site. De-emphasizing the automobile, the $2 billion “Bulfinch Crossing” master plan involves the creation of a new public square and pedestrian promenade linking Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway and the Market District along Congress Street through to Canal Street. Space to store 850 bicycles (a city requirement) will be included as will a Hubway station for Boston’s bike-sharing program and direct connections to Zipcar, the MBTA bus service, the Green and Orange subway lines, and the North Station commuter rail service.
CBT’s $2 billion master plan was approved in 2013, and a year ago the city gave the green light to two of the tallest structures in the development: New Haven firm Pelli Clarke Pelli’s One Congress office tower at 528 feet and a 480-foot residential tower from CBT Architects.
All in all, Bulfinch Crossing will see 812 residential units, 1.2 million square feet of offices, a 200-key hotel, and 85,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space added to the area; 1,150 parking spaces will also be available. The mixed-use development will be the first to include significant housing in the urban renewal district and demonstrates a refresh of downtown typologies by creating slender towers with a reduced footprint.
“Much of the design challenge has been to design the space so that it has eight different desire lines—both visual and physical—that run through the site,” said Varanasi. In plan, Bulfinch Crossing doesn’t look like a typical plot of grid-divided land primed for development. Instead, a variety of shapes work to facilitate these desire lines and natural circulation through the site.
The scheme will be completed in phases. “Nobody needed convincing that this garage has to go away,” said Nagahiro, who added that despite this sentiment, the garage couldn’t simply be knocked down. Even though the facility is only at half-capacity, its daily use is a valuable source of income to the city and, as a result, will be taken down incrementally to sustain city revenue. However, the garage will remain open for business throughout the redevelopment.
Reconfiguring the garage for operation during construction is due to be completed this spring. Construction of Pelli Clarke Pelli’s tower isslated to begin as early as 2018 and the site pad for CBT's 480-foot residential tower is currently under construction and is scheduled for completion in summer 2020. Further construction deadlines are yet to be finalized because they are predominantly market-driven, however, Varanasi speculated that the garage should be in its final stage by 2023. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
This Boston research facility is one of the first U.S. projects to employ large format GFRC fins and panels
• Date of Retrofit: 2018 projected, (original construction 1965) • Architects: Hopkins Architects (Design Architect); Bruner/Cott (Executive Architect) • Consultants: Arup Partners (mep, structural engineering); Faithful & Gould (cost consultant); Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (structural engineering); Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (landscape architect) • Project Scope: Renovation of former Holyoke Center will include much-needed modernization of the building; improved access to Harvard’s information center; enhanced landscaped plazas at north and south ends of the site; new, flexible interior spaces for events; and common spaces to attract varied constituencies within the university. • Clear window film: 3M, Solyx • Installers: A+A Window, American Window FilmRecently renamed the Smith Campus Center, Sert’s former Holyoke Center at Harvard University is an h-shaped 10-story building offering a panoramic view of the nearby Charles River. With a crumbling exterior concrete envelope and inefficient heating and cooling system, the building is undergoing a significant renovation process spearheaded by London-based Hopkins Architects and executive architects Bruner/Cott.
Two quotations might aptly describe Sert’s dogmatic approach to campus planning and architecture, which often was in conflict with popular taste. The first, from Sert himself, proclaiming his disdain for Harvard Square’s historical colonial architecture that he partially demolished for his Holyoke Center: “Stepping into Harvard Square is like entering one of Dante’s circles of hell in terms of anything associated with human enjoyment, pleasure, or beauty.” A year after its completion, Harvard’s student journal shot back with: “The one nice feature about Holyoke Center is that it’s the one place in Cambridge from which you can’t see Holyoke Center.”
Today, the building—recently renamed the Smith Campus Center—is undergoing a major physical and cultural transformation that seeks to strengthen the Harvard community, rather than to divide it. The university has engaged the university student and faculty body through 25 focus groups to produce a collective vision for the new center. The committee organizing the reprogramming of the building has received over 6,000 survey responses.
While Boston University’s Law Tower received an addition that blended old with new, blurring the lines between Sert’s building and new construction, the Smith Center’s addition will separate itself from Sert’s architecture—a move that seems intentional. Visualizations of the addition promise relaxed spaces full of nature: A natural wood-clad ceiling and light-filled glassy expanses offering glimpses to nearby renovated leafy plazas.
It is ironic that here in the very building Sert used to set forth a modernist agenda erasing the past, a new addition and campaign by the university is on track to culturally erase his project—from the facade system down to the name of the building. “The new Smith Campus Center will embody the aspirations and values that we hold dear and seek to preserve. It will draw us together more closely, strengthening the sense of community at Harvard by encouraging spontaneous interactions among students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the broader community,” said Harvard President Drew Faust.
“We realize if we’re going to save these buildings and have another 50 years of usable life, we really have to make them better than they ever were to begin with. Because as good as they might have been in the beginning of 1960, they’re much better now than they ever were in terms of occupant comfort and ease of movement.”
[Note: Retrofitting Brutalism appears online in three articles, each highlighting a different project. To read the series introduction and explore the first project, the Boston University Law Tower, visit here. This second article features the Peabody Terrace; the third piece focuses on the Holyoke Center.]
• Date of Retrofit: 1995, window replacement 2004 (original construction 1962) • Architect: Bruner/Cott • Project Scope: concrete envelope repairs, replacement window system, building system upgrades • Structural Engineer: Foley and Buhl Engineering, Inc., Watertown, MA • Mechanical Engineer: Zade Associates, Boston, MA • CM: Shawmut Design & Construction, Boston, MA • Windows: Custom Window, Plymouth, MA
Josep Lluís Sert’s career was born in Barcelona where, after briefly working for Le Corbusier in Paris, he went on to found numerous influential artist groups influential in the growth of modern architecture. He was exiled to New York City during WWII where he worked on several urban planning schemes for cities in South America. From this experience, he became dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, initiating the world’s first urban design degree program.
One of his trademarks, prominently found on the facade of Peabody Terrace, are wonderfully colored panels integrated into window systems. “They’re very romantic,” said Cott. “…and surprisingly brightly colored. You can open them up and let in fresh air.” The problem was that these panels were literally the only means to temperature control in the building. All of the dwelling units, despite various solar orientations, ran off one thermostat. Tenants had no control of their heat, often using Sert’s operable panels to cool their overheating spaces in the winter months. The units were neither air tight or waterproof, further adding to the deterioration of the building.
“That was the extent to the sophistication of what I would call the most innovative housing project designed in the past 100 years,” said Cott. “It was the work of a genius, the way he [Sert] aggregated apartment units around stair cores and skip stop elevators […] an incredibly beautiful exterior without any regard to occupant comfort.”
Bruner/Cott approached the project in the 1990s as a preservation exercise, reconstructing the 500 interior units, repairing the concrete envelope, and designing an extensive replacement of Sert’s window system. Moss said that owners will typically just cover up the issues in these types of aged buildings. “That kind of recladding approach is going to become more and more endemic, but for good modern buildings it is a real problem. Often it skips the step of understanding and then working sympathetically with the original architecture.”