ArchDaily interviews a trio of architects writing a book about the glory of 1960s and 1970s concrete architecture in Boston and why they prefer to call it "Heroic" rather than "Brutalist." For starters, not all concrete buildings are brutalist. Equally important, they say, all that concrete reflects an era in which city leaders managed to revitalize a city that had been somnolently declining for decades.
Across the U.S., concrete structures were designed during a time of optimism where positive investment was occurring in the civic realm. Their ambitions reflected these facts, so characterizing them as "brutal" sets the entirely wrong tone. It has, we believe, shaped their continued negative public reception today.
The three began thinking of the book in 2007, when Tom Menino said he'd move City Hall to the South Boston waterfront and sell or just demolish the current structure.
They have a Kickstarter campaign (of course!), and say they will use the money both to pay for photos for the book and to create a Web site that could help preserve concrete buildings from demolition by an uncaring and disdainful public and their elected officials, who have been busy starving the buildings of the maintenance funds they deserve.
Greater Boston has already lost several works, including Minoru Yamasaki’s Eastern Airlines Terminal at Logan Airport (demolished 2002) and Sert, Jackson & Associates’ Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School (demolished 2014). Others, such as Paul Rudolph’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Building (1957), are in constant peril of removal or insensitive modification based on escalating real estate values that precipitate ever-larger buildings.