A blog for people who are tired of red brick buildings

ShiftBoston:

... We want to reaffirm the city's position in progressive and innovative design and development. We seek to lead a SHIFT in: thinking, perception, attitude, definition, process, method, planning and organization in order to improve the urban environment. SHIFT is now a blog, but will be a BIG ideas competition for Boston in September 2009. The competition is intended for architects, artists, landscape architects, urban designers, engineers and anyone else who would like to tackle the question: WHAT IF this could happen in Boston? We want radical ideas for new city elements such as: public art installation, landscape, architecture, urban intervention and transportation. ...

Via.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

If you're gonna get radical

By on

Start by not building urban areas around cars, and rethink whether we actually need most of the institutions and workers that fill skyscrapers.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Yay for more paper

By on

Yay for more paper architecture with no connection to the real world! Should work out just as well as all those 'radical' urban renewal plans 1950-70, which at the time were beloved by the same theorists.

Who cares about doing what has proven to work for centuries, bring on the render porn!

up
Voting is closed. 0

I qualified that

By on

If you're gonna be radical, then be radical.

Look at the conceptual renders on the linked page, including coherent flowing sculptures of structures spanning entire neighborhoods. Then scroll down to where that ambition is reined in and detailed, such as in the image with filename "Parametricism9.jpg". They appear to be indifferent to transportation, and even the render shows a scorching case of urban canyonitis.

I think it's great that people can think and dream and come up with creative ideas upon which we might draw. I'd just be dismayed or scared if I saw actual implementation on any of these concepts without them being refined to be sensibly progressive in all the important regards.

And if you're going to be really radical, then throw away the cars, the insurance companies, the financial houses that only game the system, etc., and go from there.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Looks like the regular sorts

By on

Looks like the regular sorts of idiots to me. Set them on fire before they do any damage.

I propose a way of keeping everyone happy: People who are 'star architects,' or people who build ugly, impractical, bizarre buildings (e.g. Gehry, Koolhaas, Saarinen), or ugly, impractical, glass boxes (e.g. Van der Rohe, Pei), or ugly, impractical, concrete boxes (e.g. Le Corbusier, Rudolph, or the Boston City Hall morons), or who basically subscribe to any of the nonsense in the architecture world that started after WW1, and really caught on after WW2, should all be given all of the posterboard and foamcore and other art supplies necessary so that they can make models that everyone can ignore the hell out of.

Meanwhile people who like beautiful, functional architecture can look back to the 19th century and the good bits of the early 20th century. In fact, we could probably just go flat-out Beaux-Arts or Victorian, with appropriate bits of Federalist, since we're in New England, and everyone with at least half a brain would be happy.

up
Voting is closed. 0

can you site some

By on

can you cite some "impractical" saarinen buildings for me, and why they are impractical to you?

up
Voting is closed. 0

You mean like the buses at

By on

You mean like the buses at Dulles?

Or his building at Lincoln Center, which presents basically nothing of interest or use at street level (setting aside that Lincoln Center was a dumb idea generally).

I've also heard a number of complaints (though I've not been there myself) regarding the ceiling height in the stacks in the University of Chicago Law School library. It is way too low for comfort.

While Saarinen is not as offensive as Gehry, he probably should have been shuffled off into designing tents for campers, rather than buildings.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Kenmore

By on

If you compare the hideous, soulless hotel that John Silber built in Kenmore to the new ICA building on the waterfront, I guess that's the range of architectural development in the city lately. If someone wants to campaign from more ICA building and less like the Hotel Commonwealth, great, although I agree that this is probably going to result in pretty drawings and little else.

I like how almost every post here turns into cyclists complaining. As most urban developments aren't going to be big box stores with huge parking lots, what more should they be doing? Should buildings be built without parking garages so people can't drive to work?

up
Voting is closed. 0

ICA = poor choice of exterior building materials

By on

Walked by the ICA recently and thought the exterior building materials looked like they weren't weathering well even though it's still a fairly new building. The new ICA looked great paper, but now that it has been built I think it's disappointing. The old ICA building, on the other hand, had character and an intimacy that you just don't get with a large structure.

Yes, the Hotel Commonwealth is seriously flawed, but I'd rather see more of that design than more 'shiny object' mega structures.. the novelty wears off quickly.

up
Voting is closed. 0

John Silber

By on

Is that you?

up
Voting is closed. 0

I live around here because I

I live around here because I like the Colonial, Victorian and the occasional Gothic revival styles. Having some buildings like the John Hancock mixed in is nice because they stand out so much. If the city looked like a utopian wonderland then none of the special buildings would look special. We also make millions in tourism dollars because we have a quaint feel but are accessible.

Boston proper needs better road connections with less choke points. Better signage for roads and better warning signs to keep people out of areas under construction/clogged up, and better mass transit options, especially in areas where garages can be built as to keep people out of the city with their cars. Pedestrian access is actually pretty decent at the moment and honestly we seem to have a hard time filling the public spaces we already have in the middle of the city (I can not comment for the neighberhoods but from what Ive seen most of them need MORE open space, so spend less in the center and more in the residential quarters when it comes to open space and public space.) I guess we also need more bike access... figured I would toss those guys a bone.

up
Voting is closed. 0

lame sauce

By on

I love all of the pretty brick buildings in Boston. Go build your modern art somewhere else.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Prague

By on

If you visit somewhere like Prague or Amsterdam, you'd see that really interesting, beautiful modern buildings can be built right in the middle of historical areas of a city without ruining anything. There's no reason you can't have both. I'm not defending this blog, but I really don't get the assumption that all modern architecture will look like City Hall and that's it. Again, look at the Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore to see how ugly and spiritless a new building can be when it tries to blend in with historic pretty brick buildings like the former funeral home across the square.

up
Voting is closed. 0

is that honestly why you

By on

is that honestly why you live around here? Can you name some of the gothic revival architecture you find so compelling here?

As far as the blog, I'm a 2008 gsd grad and even i'm bored by about the second sentence of each post. They are just pilfered esoteric theory rants, and yawners at that. Formalist ideas are not of primary concern to the city of Boston, or really any city at this point, and if the bloggers are sincere in their notion of creating a new architectural paradigm in Boston they should A) mention the city in some real way in their posts, and B) close the Zaha book and take a real look at the post-Koolhaasian world we inhabit. I'd start with Boston, then Landscape Urbanism, and move from there.

up
Voting is closed. 0

I said occasional "gothic

I said occasional "gothic revival" my implication was not that it was widespread. Although other parts of New England are hot beds for that sort of architecture so it is not like I have to travel far for it.

I live in Boston for the whole package and that package includes the overall feel and look. I like it more then big cities like NY and like the look more then more modern looking cities. If I lived in an area void of red brick or cobblestones I would notice and would not like it very much. When I look at those pictures I can not picture myself living near, let alone in any of those buildings with their swooping sides blending into the ground.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Looking through that blog, I

By on

Looking through that blog, I see one massive issue in that the writers don't seem to care about the existing city. Carte Blanche thinking in existing cities in the name of 'radical change' very rarely (Paris, Vienna, ....) leads to anything good.

up
Voting is closed. 0