As the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act approaches, the fall issue of ArchitectureBoston hits hard with questions about one of the profession’s most heated topics today: preservation. With essays and articles from a dozen different perspectives, featuring a dozen different problems and solutions, the issue is a gateway for discourse for anyone interested in the role of the past, in the future of architecture. Read on for more information.
From Trinity Church to Boston’s “high spine” of skyscrapers, explore how architectural photographers see the cityscape in this dynamic session suitable for beginner and intermediate photographers alike. During this intimate exploration of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, you will learn to produce memorable images that convey a sense of place and a connection to landscape and surroundings. Professional photographer Emily O’Brien will help you and other enthusiastic photographers see Boston in a whole new way.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA)'s Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) has announced the winners of its CAE Education Facility Design Awards, which honor educational facilities that “serve as an example of a superb place in which to learn, furthering the client’s mission, goals, and educational program, while demonstrating excellence in architectural design.”
A variety of project designs, such as public elementary and high schools, charter schools, and higher education facilities, were submitted to the Committee, many of which incorporated “informal and flexible spaces for collaboration and social interaction adjacent to teaching spaces,” as well as staircases with amphitheater or forum designs.
Find out which projects received awards, after the break.
The 2015 Design Biennial Boston, now in its 4th edition, is a program that foregrounds emerging architects, landscape architects, and designers who have created inspiring and innovative practices in Massachusetts. Following an open call for entries, four firms—Cristina Parreño Architecture, GLD, Landing Studio, and MASS Design Group—were selected in March 2015 by a jury of distinguished professionals and academics. In the months since, the firms have been preparing installations that are on view on the Rose Kennedy Greenway through September 25.
Concerns regarding the cost of hosting the Olympics has led to the termination of Boston's 2024 Olympic bid. According to the New York Times, the United States Olympic Committee has withdrawn Boston as its proposed bid city due to low resident support, as taxpayers were concerned about having to foot the bill for cost overruns.
Explore how architectural photographers see the cityscape in this dynamic session suitable for beginner and intermediate photographers alike. During this intimate exploration of Boston’s Fort Point and Financial District neighborhoods, you will learn to produce memorable images that convey a sense of place, an expression of the architect’s ideas, and a connection to landscape and surroundings. Professional photographer Emily O’Brien will help you and other enthusiastic photographers see Boston in a whole new way. Take your photography to new heights!
In 2007, when the late Mayor Thomas Menino announced his intentions to demolish Kallmann, McKinnell and Knowles' iconic Boston City Hall, he gave voice to a tragic but all-too-common popular discomfort with midcentury concrete architecture. Concerned that this threat was only the latest symptom of a pervasive misunderstanding of the significance of the concrete tradition, three architects - Mark Pasnik, Chris Grimley, and Michael Kubo - joined forces shortly thereafter to launch "The Heroic Project" and share their appreciation for this unfairly maligned chapter of architectural history. In addition to creating an internet web archive, Pasnik, Grimley, and Kubo jointly authored a forthcoming historical survey, Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston, scheduled to be released by The Monacelli Press in October 2015, which recasts the cultural and political story behind America's concrete heritage.
BSA Space explores the power of architectural installations by featuring works by architects and designers who use this medium to test new technologies and building techniques, while executing pieces that are both sculptural and visually arresting. Curated by Rob Trumbour AIA and Aaron Willette of the design/research practice Khôra LLC., the exhibition presents more than 10 physical examples of the medium by an array of Boston-based and international designers.
LocationRoxbury, Boston, MA, USA
Architect of RecordUrbanica Design
Janet Echelman's latest aerial sculpture has been suspended 365 feet above Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway. On view through October 2015, the monumental installation spans 600 feet, occupying a void where an elevated highway once divided the city's downtown from its waterfront.
"The sculpture’s form echoes the history of its location," describes Echelman. "The three voids recall the 'Tri-Mountain' which was razed in the 18th-century to create land from the harbor. The colored banding is a nod to the six traffic lanes that once overwhelmed the neighborhood, before the Big Dig buried them and enabled the space to be reclaimed for urban pedestrian life."
Safdie Architects’ 2015 Research Fellowship will center on the theme of “dense urbanism,” and the ways in which the field of architecture can rethink its approach to vital issues such as materiality, construction, environmental conditions, and the demographic realities of rapidly growing populations. This year, Moshe Safdie and his team invite exceptional individuals to attack the challenges of the contemporary urban landscape head-on by proposing new tools and solutions to create a better functioning and humane city. Accepted candidates will spend one year in residence at Safdie Architects’ Boston office, during which they will receive support from the practice and have access to the firm’s resources and consultants.
LocationRoxbury, Boston, MA, USA
PhotographsCourtesy of Mecanoo
Prisons are often seen as problematic for their local communities. After centuries of correctional facilities discouraging economic growth and occupying valuable real estate as a necessary component of towns and cities, many of these institutions have been relocated away from city centers and their abandoned vestiges are left as unpleasant reminders of their former use. In fact, the majority of prisons built in the United States since 1980 have been placed in non-metropolitan areas and once served as a substantial economic development strategy in depressed rural communities.  However, a new pressure is about to emerge on the US prison systems: beginning in 2010, America's prison population declined for the first time in decades, suggesting that in the near future repurposing these structures will become a particularly relevant endeavor for both community development and economic sustainability. These abandoned shells offer architects valuable opportunities to reimagine programmatic functions and transform an otherwise problematic location into an integral neighborhood space.
Why repurpose prisons rather than starting fresh? The answer to this question lies in the inherent architectural features of the prison typology, namely the fact that these structures are built to last. People also often forget that prison buildings are not limited to low-rise secure housing units - in fact, prisons feature an array of spaces that have great potential for reuse including buildings for light industrial activity, training or office buildings, low-security housing, and large outdoor spaces. These elements offer a wide variety of real estate for new programmatic uses, and cities around the world have begun to discover their potential. What could the US learn from these examples, at home and overseas?
Nine finalists have emerged in the Boston Living with Water design competition. The ongoing initiative challenges competitors to address shifting climate conditions and sea level rise at one of three Boston sites anticipated to be affected by 2100. Although the 50 participating teams took different approaches to designing for climate change, all the submissions treated the rising sea level as a positive design force in Boston's built environment.
Check out the finalists, after the break.
Construction has commenced on Pei Cobb Freed & Partners’ 61-story condominium tower in Boston’s historic Back Bay. The $700 million development will be the tallest residential building in the city, and the tallest tower to rise since the 1976 John Hancock Tower, also designed by Pei Cobb Freed.
“The project allows us to consider once again how a tall building, together with the open space it frames, can respond creatively to the need for growth while showing appropriate respect for its historic urban setting,” says Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.
Global, the Winter 2014 issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, out now, is an examination of the challenges and opportunities facing architects working abroad, from the Middle East to Africa to Asia. The topics explored in this issue include how to value resource-constrained approaches, honor local vernacular, and learn from the urbanization precedents set in other parts of the world. In this article, Jay Wickersham FAIA examines how in a globalized market, architecture firms can take steps to ensure that their designs act in the best interests of the foreign communities they affect.
The signs of architecture’s globalization are all around us. Foreign students flock to Boston to study architecture, prominent buildings are designed by foreign architects, American firms build practices around international projects. Globalization has allowed architects to work outside their own regions and cultures, at a scale and with a freedom of design they might never enjoy at home. But beneath the excitement and glamour of international practice, I sense an unease. Are we creating vital and original new architectures, or are we homogenizing cities and landscapes and obliterating regional differences? Are architects helping to strengthen and develop the economies of host communities, or are they acting as unwitting tools of inequality and repression?
The US Olympic Committee (USOC) has unanimously selected Boston as its applicant city for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The culmination of a 22-month evaluation process, Boston was selected over Los Angeles, Washington and San Francisco.
“This bid uniquely combines an exciting, athlete-focused concept for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games with Boston’s existing long-term vision,” says USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “We look forward to working with Mayor Walsh and the Boston 2024 team to fully engage with the local community and identify ways we can make the bid even better.”