City Hall's defenders

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Jay Fitzgerald: There is indeed something striking about City Hall's iconic exterior that's worth preserving. He proposes gutting the interior and re-doing it and doing something about the damn plaza (Jay: Didn't Menino once propose doing something about the plaza - after which he promptly got shot down by the federal government, which has a veto thanks to the JFK Building? Yes, he did)

John Daley would hate to see the building torn down:

... The fact is that City Hall and its plaza are an icon, a symbol of the city. ...

Calla says the current City Hall's location far outweighs its ugliness:

... A nice view is not worth the agony of all the people who won't be able to get there. ...

Charles Swift would go even further by building an annex on the Congress Street side:

... This annex would not only handle most of the face to face transactions people have with the City of Boston (one of the main complaints of visitors is that the current City Hall is depressing) but also provide space for a new museum of Boston history and National Park Service visitor center at the ground levels. Reconfiguring the walking paths through City Hall Plaza would also make the route to the North End clearer for those coming from Boston Common/Beacon Hill, perhaps by taking cues from the original street layout which ran through Scollay Square before redevelopment. ...

Carpundit wonders: Why now?

... I cannot understand why a mayor of the people like Mumbles Menino would want to move his operation away from the people.

Unless maybe there's some money involved. You don't think he could be setting himself up for a retirement job with the developers, do you? You don't think the corrupt Boston Redevelopment Authority will have a hand in this somewhere? Nah. Not in Boston.

The Outraged Liberal, though, thinks the whole thing is a whacked-out idea from a mayor with an edifice complex:

... I think bringing the Enchanted Village back might be a better legacy. ...

Adam can't wait for the Fortress to be torn down:

... It truly is depressing in a Brave New World way. It is literally across the street from some of the finest colonial architecture in the country, and is a monstrosity and an eyesore that is regularly panned by architects and regular folks alike. ...

What, exactly, did Menino say? Joe Keohane posts a transcript.

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CITY HALL, CITY HALL PLAZA

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Both the building and lifeless, uninviting plaza get thumbs down in my opinion. I will also hazard to say that if this were all put to a vote to tear down these architectural travesties that at least a two thirds majority would opt for the demolition option. I am mystified by those who stump for this cold, intimidating, hunkering, gray, NAZI pill box/fortress of a structure - I grant you your opinion that City Hall is some sort of architectural masterwork (???), but in my estimation, Boston does not deserve this mess. AND, the thought of improving this area has been WAY too long in the "think tank" with little or no action to actually get something done (Menino's MISTAKE of the 1990's was laughable at best - almost two million dollars for a long park bench and some flag poles that add NOTHING to the brick barrens behind it).

Perhaps City Hall should not be moved to the Seaport District, yet the current structure should be pulverized to the ground; again, in my opinion with no hard cost estimates to substantiate my belief, but I think that renovating this bunker would prove to be way too costly primarily based on energy costs and energy efficiency alone. This structure was conceived of in an era of monumentalism in terms of architecture and in a mindset of futurism (i.e. think 1960s "world's fair" style buildings with dramatic design elements that serve absolutely no true purpose [like the fins of a late 50s early 60s Cadillac] and with visually awe-inspiring yet confusing interior spaces that were unusable for any real occupancy function) that had no regard for the very "future" we are living in today with our worries of energy shortages, global warming and the like. In other words, I think that the City Hall building CANNOT be made "green" and brought into the 21st century without the undertaking of MONUMENTAL architectural engineering retrofits and building alterations.

And as to that wretched plaza, why can't we all just get along and turn it into something that resembles the park in Post Office Square? What on Earth were architects (I.M. Pei to be specific) thinking of in those days with regards to public spaces? Was the Sahara Desert or perhaps the bombed-out wide desolate expanses of Post War Berlin the inspiration for this lifeless and uninviting barrens???

In closing, perhaps those who are captivated by this monument to the failings of 1960s city planning (Both City Hall and Plaza) may want to speak to someone working within another example of the grotesque horror of Brutalist architecture, with its terrifying, overwhelming-in-scale, serpentine steps like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock/Dali-esque nightmarish dreamscape film sequence. Now which building am I referring?......class???.....anyone?.......Bueller?......did I just hear someone say the Lindemann Mental Health Center?....CORRECT!!!And, if you like that one as well (the "beautiful" Lindemann), I have another one to sell you.......the ever gorgeous, graceful and colorful Hurley Building....SARCASM INTENDED...in my opinion of course.

City Hall Haiku

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City Hall Plaza
Form does not follow function
Lifeless pile of bricks

Godwin's law

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...was invoked once you typed your third sentence. FAIL.