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Aging concrete box needs lots of repairs

WBUR reports Boston City Hall, built as a brutalist monument to a new age, is getting old and needs like $80 million in repairs - some due to the fact that its architects failed to plan for repairs or renovations to certain key systems, such as hot-water pipes completely encased in the building's concrete structure.

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We could move City Hall to the former West Roxbury Education Complex which would also include some plush playing fields for constituents.

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Open up a lot of downtown space for new residential units.

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By charging $5 per hammer swing and taking it down that way? There might be a real long line.

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They'd accuse her of attempting to erase Boston's rich history lol

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You'll end up getting another bush-hammered concrete facade like the Hurley building in the West End.

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As if I'm waiting for Who tickets in 1973. I'd love to take a swing at that building.

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The show is pretty bad, but the dystopian set *had* to have been inspired by Boston City Hall. If you don't have an Apple TV+ subscription, just Google and you'll see what I mean.

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I'm not familiar with this show, but following your suggestion, I googled some images, and there is an outdoor staircase that looks quite a bit like the entrance to the Hurley. As somebody who appreciates and enjoys brutalism, I don't consider it to be dystopian, but that is all subjective.

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I wonder if the high cost has to deal with remediation of asbestos contained within the concrete. Unless I am mistaken, The Christain Science Center ran into this problem when renevating the outside plaza and 177 Huntington.

It is not as simple as taking a hammer to the concrete, have to make sure the dust is reduced and captured.

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Where did they mention asbestos concrete in this article?

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It did not, but it was common to use asbestos in concrete for building materials at the time, especially encasing heat and steam pipes. I am guessing that this is the case based on the age of the building.

Of course I could be wrong but I would not be surprised if it was the case. Asbestos abatement dramatically increases the cost of any construction project.

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I guess so.
I've certainly heard of asbestos in cement concrete as a great insulator, but mostly in the context of stuff like transite water mains and not in context of bulk structural performance.

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I don't know when it stopped being used but it isn't uncommon for 1920s poured concrete industrial buildings around Boston. It's not a health risk normally but if they need to make a hole for a pipe, etc it requires extra precautions to minimize dust.

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Can you imagine what working in that echo chamber is going to have to be like while they tear down the walls?

Ugh.

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And that, my friends, is why all architecture degrees should require coursework in building systems, maintenance, and structural engineering.

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aesthetic principles

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We already get coursework in that, thank you very much. In addition of 5 (min) years of schooling, there are 3 years of internship before we're allowed to go for the licensure exam. Internship requires one to pay for the pleasure of being a member of the required accreditation organization, show proof of hours performed in the many aspects of planning, design, construction, management, budgeting, etc., and to pay even more for the pleasure of logging in that information.

The real learning comes from hands on, in person physical understanding of construction. Just because it can be drawn doesn't mean it can be built.

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He wanted to tear this down. Perhaps he was right?

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Modern buildings are constructed with a presumed end of life that is far shorter than earlier stone buildings. The Moakely Federal Courthouse was not designed to last more than around 50 years. Any building skinned in glass can not last for more than a few decades.

Cost is part of the issue. Building to last centuries costs way too much for quickly either reselling the structure or for the rents needed to pay off the loans. But I don't think as a culture we want buildings that will last more than a few decades.

The fact that we continue to destroy beautiful buildings from the 19th century is proof that architectural longevity (and great beauty) is irrelevant. The destruction of the former Shreve, Crump and Low building at Arlington and Boylston is Evidence # 1. A beautiful building destroyed. Beauty replaced by glass box that is the Platonic ideal of what a first year architectural student would offer in the wake of a hangover from a previous night's imbibing of Mad Dog 2020 wine. Proof that the architectural and development professions are run by esthetic dullards who minds painfully swell when confronted with good architecture; whose brains about to explode are calmed only by replacing architecture that raises the public sense of self with architecture that looks best (and still pretty lousy) in a Simpson's episode.

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I worked in Boston City Hall for nearly 30 years and hated the place! About 25 years ago the City undertook a massive asbestos abatement program throughout the building, and I was twice relocated to temporary quarters downstairs while the departments where I was working were evacuated to clean out the asbestos insulation from the walls. At the time we were left with the understanding that what we were going through, department by department, would resolve the issue...

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and a lot longer than you would think if the contractor who renovated the Curley Rec Center wins the bid.

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.

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Please tell me you aren't serious.

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Are you?

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building and Brutalist architecture in general but isn't an architect or architectural historian. The barren, wind-swept surrounding plaza was a mistake, but otherwise I don't reflexively react to this style with revulsion, think it's kinda cool.

I have had to dip in and out a couple of times, like when I had to renew my resident parking permit after having missed the online window to do so. I arrived about two minutes before closing time, and the parking clerk could not have been more sweet and accommodating, a lovely upending of expectations.

I didn't notice in those ten minutes how famously awful a building it is to have to work in. But that looks like a failure of interior design and/or fabrication of HVAC systems and acoustics, not a broader stylistic flaw. It is possible to do right: I've spent some time in the Centre Pompidou, a later example of the Brutalist style, and it has none of those issues.

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… built to service the Tour Eiffel Oil Rig.

That was the old chestnut that was going around when I lived there.

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Tear down the oppressive glass box investment opportunity monstrosities before they fall over on top of us.

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