Posts tagged with "Massachusetts":

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Gluckman Tang reveals Heritage Park master plan linking Gehry and Nouvel designs

New York-based Gluckman Tang Architects has released their master plan for Western Gateway Heritage State Park (Heritage Park), an integral piece of the larger redevelopment in North Adams, Massachusetts. The proposal links the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the restored waterfront, Main Street, and the site of Frank Gehry's future Extreme Model Railroad Museum (EMRCAM). The project is part of a larger "cultural corridor" that ultimately hopes to bring the Bilbao effect to this corner of Massachusetts. The plan breaks up Heritage Park into three distinct plazas connected by walking paths. Each area revitalizes the historic industrial buildings within while better connecting to other parts of the city. The North Plaza will contain a new amphitheater, while the Central Plaza will hold a grove of birch trees and outdoor seating. The South Plaza will help orient visitors to Gehry's railroad museum. Originally slated for a 14,000-square-foot, 19th century warehouse inside the park, the Gluckman Tang-designed EMRCAM was scrapped for a 75,000-square-foot Gehry design elsewhere. Featuring architectural dioramas by Gehry himself and Zaha Hadid, the new museum will be located across the street from the MASS MoCA. Gluckman Tang will be converting the original park building into a Museum of Time and add another 6,000 square feet, a glazed entryway and a steep butterfly roof. Other than the museum, Gluckman Tang has also proposed converting a 3,250-square-foot coal hopper into a distilling hall, complete with a new 4,000-square-foot retail space and tasting room. “In addition to improving the experience for visitors to North Adams, our master plan will enhance the central role of the city in the Cultural Corridor and its anchor institutions, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) and The Clark Art Institute,” said Gluckman Tang principal Richard Gluckman. One question left unanswered is how Jean Nouvel will factor into the evolution of North Adams. The French architect was reportedly in consideration to master plan the city as of last year, but news of his involvement has been scant since then. Leading the redevelopment initiative and museum complex is Thomas Krens, former director of the Guggenheim Foundation. Krens has a storied history with Nouvel, and it seems the architect’s ideas will make it into the master plan in one way or another.
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$1 billion redevelopment plan could remake the downtown of Somerville, Massachusetts

In Somerville, Massachusetts, a $1 billion redevelopment scheme in the city's Union Square neighborhood is edging closer to happening after Somerville's Board of Alderman waved through a rezoning plan. The 9–1 vote in favor of the plan last week was the result of three years of planning done by a special development team with the community. The 2.3 million-square-foot Union Square project, if fully approved, will bring 1.3 million square feet of new offices and civic facilities to the area as well as just over 100,000 square feet of public space. Twenty percent of the housing units built will be for families earning a low income, meanwhile, authorities estimate the scheme will see 5,000 permanent new jobs come to the area. Plans for a Green Line extension for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) are also in the works. The $2.3 billion project would link Union Square with the adjoining neighborhoods as well as the city of Boston, making Union Square the downtown of Somerville. “Union Square’s proximity to Kendall Square, MIT, and Harvard—one the densest innovation centers in the world—makes it poised for the next wave of economic growth,” said Greg Karczewski, president of Union Square Station Associates (US2), a development team built specifically for the Union Square Redevelopment Project. “We’re bringing 2.3 million square feet of new mixed-use, transit-oriented development to one of the hottest real estate markets.” For the Green Line extension to happen, US2 is providing $5.5 million in the form of a public benefits contribution and around 950 residences, all of which will supposedly result in new property tax growth. Now that the rezoning has been approved, US2 will present a development plan for Union Square to the community in the next few months. Jennifer Park, a resident of Union Square who has long been tracking the project, welcomes the development but is skeptical of what the final result will be. "They're really changing the look of Union Square. At community meetings there were lots of drawings of high buildings, but also lots of green space," she told The Architect's Newspaper. "As a resident and condo owner, I am happy that my property's value is going up." Park, though, also stressed that the feel of Union Square—with its diverse culture of ethnic restaurants and wide range of activities—should be preserved. "We do not want this to be like Kendall Square where the commercial development is dead at night. I am glad there is development here, but just so long as the community supports that development," Park added. The current schedule has construction starting in 2018 and the new Green Line station open and operational by 2021. The plan in full can be read here.
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Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood to get a $30 million expansion

In Lenox, Massachusetts, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is putting money into expanding the Tanglewood Music Center, a place the orchestra has called home during summertime since 1932. The $30 million project is being headed by Boston firm William Rawn Associates. The practice has designed four new buildings for the site including a multi-use rehearsal and performance venue, cafe, and two small studios. "We know the site very well, we have a history here," said Bill Rawn, founding principal of William Rawn Associates. The firm designed the Sieji Ozawa Hall, a 36,000-square-foot venue for the Boston's Symphony Orchestra's summer shows 25 years ago. Orientated in a linear fashion, the coterie of new buildings set for Tanglewood cover 24,000 square feet. Rawn stressed that the additions did not attempt to outdo Ozawa Hall in terms of scale. "They're much less monolithic, Ozawa Hall is still the centerpiece." Predominantly, the site is geared for outdoor circulation among the four new buildings. A canopy protrudes over a pathway adjacent to landscaping, which is courtesy of Reed Hilderbrand, a landscape architecture firm from Cambridge. Clifford Gayley, another principle at William Rawn, described "Studio 1," a new multi-use performance space that will seat 200 when being used for small-scale performances. The room will also double up as a place for rehearsals, banqueting and as a lecture hall. Despite extensive fenestration (for a music-based space, at least) Studio 1 performs well acoustically thanks to Chicago acoustic specialists Kirkegaard Associates who prescribed horizontal wood paneling for the interior. Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper, President of Kirkegaard, Joseph Myers said how his firm had to be careful not to place the glass too close or far away so to avoid creating a "confusing echo" effect. Windows bathe the space in natural daylight and allow audiences to gaze at the scenery behind and around performers. "Given the size of the space, loudness wasn't an issue, but we wanted to ensure that sound was kept clear and crisp for when a lecturer is speaking," said Myers. Motorized wooden grills can be exposed during loud performances to absorb sound. Here, the size of the gaps between the timber stops reverberations. Meanwhile, speakers are aimed at the retractable seating risers, intended to be used when lectures are taking place. Gayley added that the timber interior of Studio 1 is carried through materially throughout the scheme, creating spaces "that are instantly recognizable as new." All the new buildings will be climate controlled and, as with Studio 1, feature views out onto the landscape and beyond to Ozawa Hall. Groundbreaking is scheduled fall this year, with project completion in summer 2019.
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The plan to combine fishing, tourism, and the waterfront to invigorate a New England city

Working waterfronts along the Eastern seaboard are slowly dying out. As rising sea temperatures result in different fish migration patterns and locations, fishermen are struggling to adapt and keep up. The phenomenon is believed by many scientists to be due to climate change—the effects of which are most prominently evidenced on the East Coast according to a 2009 article, “Progress in Oceanography,” which found that waters in the northeast saw their temperatures rise at twice the global rate between 1982 and 2006.

The port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, however, has remained strong. Since 1999 it has been the nation’s number one fishing port, netting 40 million pounds of seafood valued at more than $329 million in 2014, generating economic activity surpassing $1 billion.

Sustaining this economic fruition is a different matter, though. Boston-based consultant Sasaki has produced a study of New Bedford’s waterfront, a scheme that seeks to further the area’s economic longevity.

Proposals vary from advocating investment in particular areas and buildings to introducing other industries to the area. An example of the latter can be seen in the suggestion to enhance access—both public and private—to the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction where national and international buyers bid on fish. “A direct connection between fishing boats and the seafood auctions would improve the efficiency of getting fish to the consumer and make the process a transparent experience for the public,” reported Sasaki. Additionally, this would allow tourists to witness fish trading, something that is popular in, London, Sydney, Tokyo, and even, as Sasaki points out, Chatham, Massachusetts.

As seen in the diagram at the top of the page, Sasaki sorted areas into “water dependency” zones, which helps to form a strategy for future development, allotting certain areas for public interaction and economic activity.

Urban planner and project manager at Sasaki Brie Hensold highlighted the city’s State Pier as another opportunity, describing it as a “lynchpin.” Hensold said that the pier is “heavily dependent” on the water and could be a crucial element for future tourism. In a similar vein as the auction house proposal, Sasaki advocates showcasing New Bedford’s industrial heritage and contemporary operations to tourists and the public. Mystic Seaport, just 80 miles away in Connecticut already does this, charging visitors $26 to walk around the old port and sample its history.

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Jean Nouvel may master plan downtown of North Adams, Massachusetts

Jean Nouvel visited western Massachusetts “about a dozen years ago for Thanksgiving” and is now being considered to master plan the downtown of North Adams. He met last Friday with North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright to discuss ideas and plans for the development of the Berkshire city and said he is “intrigued and impressed by the recent developments at the Clark and Mass M0CA.” Nouvel also released the following statement: “The concept of a cultural corridor in northwest Massachusetts is unique. The existing institutions are phenomenal. The combination of elements that exists here is like no other that I know of. The landscape, the topography, the colors, and the collision of Main Street, the overpass, and the railroad lends itself to an extraordinary and precise intervention or series of interventions that would preserve the scale of the city, and build on the concentration of cultural resources in the region.” With former Guggenheim Foundation Director Thomas Krens planning a new museum complex in the town's small airport, this is a region that thinks big!
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Steven Holl to execute master plan study for Williams College Museum of Art

This year, Williams College trumped rival Amherst in the spurious U.S. News & World Report college rankings, stealing the "#1 College" title from their neighbor to the east. Defending the crown is tough work, but an infusion of high-profile architecture can't hurt: New York–based Steven Holl Architects announced today that they will design a master plan study for Williams's Museum of Art and Art Department.Established in 1926, the Williams College Museum of Art has 14,000 pieces in its collection that range from antiquity to the present. It is a teaching museum, designed to give students firsthand access to major works of art. Steven Holl's study for the museum and the Art Department is organized around five principles: Creating spaces for exhibiting and teaching art, connecting interior spaces with the campus, making the architecture contextual and complementary, harmonizing the visual arts with other arts on campus, and expanding the presence of the museum and the department on campus. Several on-campus sites are being considered for new buildings to expand the department's footprint. "Historically one of the most important launching institutions for museum leaders around the world, Williams College extends its dedication to excellence in art education with this new campus development phase,” said Steven Holl, in a statement. Museum and education design is a well-worn path for the practice: Steven Holl has created facilities for Columbia University, MIT, and the Glasgow School of Art, among others. Currently, work in underway at Princeton University, the Kennedy Center, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The master plan anchors Williams as a destination in the well-established Berkshires arts scene. The college is a mile from the Clark Art Institute, with its Tadao Ando–designed expansion. It's also a fifteen minute drive from North Adams, home of MASS MoCA and two planned museums, The Global Contemporary Art Museum and The Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum, the latter two both designed by Gluckman Tang.
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With proposed anti-jaywalking law, Massachusetts reignites debate over the right to the street

It's not surprising that Massachusetts, the state where happy hour is illegal, has found a new way to legislate away one of the city's greatest subversive small pleasures. For rushed urbanites especially, getting from place to place quickly on foot means crossing the street in the middle of the block. But State Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler has introduced legislation that would force pedestrians to adhere strictly to Cartesian space via stiff fines for jaywalking. This latest kerfuffle over the streets raises a question for inveterate jaywalkers and safety sticklers alike: What's so wrong with jaywalking, anyway? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWGEPZlbtX4 Massachusetts' current fine of $1, state officials claim, is hardly a deterrent to the common practice of crossing mid-block or against traffic. Chandler proposed a bill that would raise the fine for the initial offense to $25, $50 for the second, and $75 for the third jaywalk, The Boston Globe reports. (The standing law, enacted in 1962, imposes a $2 fine for the fourth offense and beyond.) The bill was motivated by recent pedestrian deaths in the Worcester Democrat's district. "It’s a bad habit we’ve all gotten into. And it’s changing a bad habit. And the best way to change a bad habit is to penalize it in some fashion," Chandler testified to the Transportation Committee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AFn7MiJz_s Since the rise of the automobile, government has taken an active role in dissuading citizens from crossing the street in the middle of the block, as the (totally catchy) '60s PSA radio jingle explains. A jay, in early twentieth century parlance, was a rube, an unsophisticate. Calling someone a jay was a huge insult, as Adam Ruins Everything explains in the video above. Interestingly, although humans have had legs for far longer than cars, the term "jay driver" preceded jaywalker. Before the first crosswalk was installed in 1911, cars, pedestrians, carriages, and streetcars had equal right to the street. Cars were viewed as menaces, and cars driven recklessly by so-called jay drivers were seen as a threat to the balance of chaos and control that kept the streets usable for all. Citizens were justified in reviling drivers: By the end of the 1920s, automobile accidents had killed more than 250,000 people. As with the streetcar phase-out, the interests of the automobile-owning capitalist class prevailed over the public's right to the street. The auto industry lobbied to make cars the prima donnas of the street, a mode of travel that deserved special protections from annoying pedestrians, especially. The American Automobile Association (AAA) spearheaded school safety campaigns, warning boys and girls of the dangers of jaywalking. In a few short years, the threat of cars to people was superseded in public discourse by the threat of people to cars: by the 1930s, most municipalities had enacted laws agains jaywalking. These days, the jaywalking crackdown is not limited to Massachusetts. In 1998, New York City got tough on jaywalking, jacking up fines from $2 to $50. Under de Blasio, those fines went up to a maximum of $250. As with the enforcement of "quality of life crimes" like loitering and public drinking, jaywalking citations are primarily foisted on poor people of color. As the Massachusetts legislature debates this bill, it's worth re-engaging the old debate: is jaywalking a really crime, or is it just criminalized?
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Hopkins Architects moves forward with revamp of Sert’s Holyoke Center at Harvard

British firm Hopkins Architects (formerly Michael Hopkins & Partners) has been granted planning permission from local authorities to build the new Smith Campus Center for Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hopkins was selected for the project back in 2013, but plans are now becoming clear with new renderings of the project. Included in the plan are shopping areas, cafes, and student exhibition areas. These areas will look out onto the open space laid out in front of the building, while sitting alongside and sheltering the study spaces inside. Such a scheme creates a defined hierarchy within the structure. Outdoor social space is separated from the quieter, more formal areas of study via the threshold of shopping, cafe, exhibition spaces, and reception area. The plan will become part of the Josep Lluis Sert's 1960s design for the Holyoke Center. Joining onto the exterior facade (as seen in the pictures) will be a steel structure, clad mainly in glass with softwood and concrete interior. After being appointed to the project in 2013, Hopkins Architects' vision for the Smith Campus was formed after asking students, faculty and staff about what they thought the campus should be. An exhaustive study into this comprised public meetings, over 25 focus groups, and almost 6,000 responses to University-wide survey. “One of our key design objectives was to ensure that the building engages the vibrancy of all of Harvard Square,” said Tanya Iatridis, senior director of University planning, speaking to the Harvard Gazette. “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,” Harvard President Drew Faust told the Harvard Gazette. “While plans are not yet final, and we have more feedback to gather, we are all pleased with the project’s direction and progress.” Joining Hopkins will be U.K.-based firms, Arup on the engineering team and  Faithful + Gould as project management consultants. It won't be an all British show however, as U.S. practice Bruner/Cott will be executive architect and Cambridge firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will serve as landscape architect. The project is expected to break ground later in 2016 with the new campus expected to open in 2018.
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Harvard experiments with new science and engineering facilities designed by Behnisch Architekten

Harvard University has submitted plans by Behnisch Architekten with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) for a six story, 500,000-square-foot science and engineering complex on its Allston campus. Stuttgart- and Boston-based Behnisch Architekten is designing new laboratories, classroom space, research facilities, and retail space for the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The home of the Earthwatch Institute, at 114 Western Avenue, will also be renovated by the architects. The design responds to the layout of Harvard Yard, a "human scale" network of communal space. Like most of Behnisch Architekten's projects, the structure will capitalize on ecological principles: natural ventilation, renewable energy from geothermal and wind, roof gardens, and heat recovery and retention. In a statement, Matt Noblett, partner at Behnisch Architekten, explained the synergistic aspects of his firm's design: “The design of the Science and Engineering Complex project pulls together a number of threads of contemporary life certain to influence coming generations: the engineering enterprise as a decisive influence in the discovery and resolution of some of the world’s most intractable problems; cross-disciplinary efforts as critical to major research initiatives; and genuine leadership in the area of sustainable design and urban development.”
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Harvard GSD establishes Office for Urbanization to tackle social conditions through research

On November 6, Harvard's Graduate School of Design (GSD) launched the Design Office for Urbanization, a program that will draw on resources from the school's three departments to address the "social conditions associated with contemporary urbanization" through applied design research projects. Charles Waldheim, Professor of Landscape Architecture, will lead the office. Helen Kongsgaard, research associate at the GSD, explained that the office is interested in "questions on urbanization that are extreme but can be generalized into other areas." Its first project will generate design responses to rising sea levels that could affect the City of Miami Beach's culture, identity, economy, ecology, and infrastructure. For this and future programs, the office will partner with nonprofits, NGOs, community leaders, as well as Harvard's Center for Green Buildings and DesignExecutive Education, and the Joint Center for Housing Studies.
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How Ada Louise Huxtable Saved Salem: Symposium marks the 50th anniversary of urban-renewal critique

On October 13, 1965, the New York Times ran a piece of architecture criticism on its front page, above the fold, spanning five out of seven columns. The writer was Ada Louise Huxtable, and the topic was the looming decimation of downtown Salem, Massachusetts—near Huxtable’s summer home in Marblehead. “Urban Renewal Threatens Historic Buildings in Salem, Mass.,” read the headline. “Foes Fear Plans Will Mar Old New England Heritage.” Those were the dark years between the demolition of New York’s Penn Station in 1963 and passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966. Huxtable offered Salem as a case study for the postwar urban-renewal movement that leveled “blighted” communities in favor of highways, garages, parking lots, and new construction, all generally discordant in style and scale. Despite a lack of interest from developers, Salem aimed to demolish 82 percent (39 acres) of the buildings in its historic core. “Across the country, the battle between history and the slipping tax base is on,” Huxtable wrote. But the “conditions, assumptions, and values that make the bulldozer seem the only practical tool” were empty, including the “conservatism and shortsightedness of local commercial interests.” The piece struck nerves nationwide. Within ten years, Salem’s administration had changed, the plan had died, and Salem had launched a public-private program to restore facades, renovate interiors, and improve landscaping and circulation. In 1974 and ‘75, Huxtable wrote follow-up stories, “How Salem Saved Itself from Urban Renewal” and “Good News From the Witch of Salem.” The 50th anniversary of her pivotal piece inspired a symposium held Friday, September 25 at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum, “ Mightier Than a Wrecking Ball: How Ada Louise Huxtable Saved Salem.” Co-sponsored by Historic Salem, Inc., the Peabody Essex Museum, and Historic New England, the event was conceived in part by Ed Nilsson, a Salem architect who had worked with Huxtable on modifications to her 1958 ranch in Marblehead. Following a short film on Huxtable’s local impact, four speakers shared different perspectives. Christopher Hawthorne, of the Los Angeles Times—whom Huxtable, near the end of her life, called the best architecture critic in the country—broadened the context in his keynote address. Thanks to urban renewal, he said, “We’re still trying to recover from the radical remaking of the landscape” in downtown Los Angeles. Hawthorne called for a change in the 50-year mark of a building’s maturity, as the digital age is having a “profound impact on the speed with which we forget about and rediscover” architectural movements. Preservation advocates, he argued, need to “get ahead of the curve of popular taste, and that means...talking now not about the ‘60s or even the ‘70s, but the 1980s and even the 1990s.” For longtime Huxtable fans, Eric Gibson, arts and culture editor at the Wall Street Journal, delivered a rare treat: scenes from the process of working with “Ada Louise.” Being her editor, he quipped, was “the closest thing to a sinecure...in contemporary journalism.” After an anecdote about touring the George Washington Bridge Bus Station with the elegant octogenarian, Gibson traced the groundwork for her blistering 2012 critique of the proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. “She wanted to make sure the tone was absolutely right,” he emphasized. “She didn’t want to come across as shooting from the hip.” Even so, the story exploded, and, like her original Salem piece, it “shifted the ground of the debate.” Huxtable died a month later, and the library killed the project the following year. Elizabeth Padjen, FAIA, founder and former editor of ArchitectureBoston magazine, presented a balanced history of Salem’s urban-renewal effort. Reminding the crowd that fear and distrust of cities ran deep in the 1950s, she used archival photos to show how troubled Salem had become: Old Town Hall (1816) was surrounded by boarded-up buildings, and “even the bars were closing.” Models of the renewal plan showed how overwhelmingly destructive it would have been, and how poorly it would have been executed. Spotlighting the arrival of the right professionals at the right time, Padjen narrated Salem’s resurgence, over the course of the 1970s, into a place that “celebrates its heritage.” Donovan Rypkema, principal of the Washington, D.C.–based consultancy PlaceEconomics, made an animated case that bolstering a city’s tax base does not, in fact, mean replacing old buildings with new construction. Historic districts, he argued, have economic attributes that can be counterintuitive. If well maintained, they are consistently popular places to live; their density packs more taxpayers into a given area; and they draw “heritage visitors,” who are known to spend well in local businesses. Carl Nold, president and CEO of Historic New England, moderated a panel discussion on preservation and economic development. Throughout the afternoon, Huxtable’s legacy was honored with intelligence and affection. “Her writing effected change,” Gibson said, “preventing catastrophic and irreversible destruction to our architectural heritage and quality of life.”
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This Boston architecture firm believes virtual reality could create a revolution in architectural rendering and model making

Showing off buildings may be a task that is no longer constrained to simple two dimensional paper or the slick rendering. Virtual Reality is quickly approaching mainstream and architecture firm Tsoi/Kobus & Associates is already taking advantage of the emerging technology. The Cambridge, MA–based practice is implementing software used by virtual reality games to place clients into computer generated 3D renderings in order to deliver a more immersive feel of what the future space might look like. In practice, clients can walk round virtual buildings using Revizto, a cloud system, which architects can invite their clients to use. The experience is made possible thanks to a pair of Oculus virtual reality goggles which allow the user to interact with his or her virtual surroundings in real time as well as providing a first-person view.
"All of this can be done before a contract for a building is even awarded and could eliminate the need for creating life-size physical mock-ups out of plywood—making the whole process much more efficient," the Boston Globe's Katie Johnston wrote about the still-in-development concept. One would have to speculate, however, on how much time it would take to fully mock-up a CG building compared to making a 3D model or rendering. It's likely only a matter of time before new architectural rendering software that speeds up the process catches up with the technology. Luis Cetrangolo, the architect responsible for implementing the idea, told Johnston that the experience could become dizzying after about five minutes, and so far only one client has been subjected to the software.