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Old 06-17-2012, 07:30 PM   #131
Lennon McCartney
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 14
Re: New residential mid-tower set for Pier 4

Quoting the 2008 Globe article on Kairos Shen:

So what might Boston evolve into under Shen's watch? While he insists his personal design aesthetic is not relevant when it comes to the future look and feel of Boston, that's hard to believe after watching him draw all over an architect's preliminary designs. He likes understated, contemporary, modernist design. The man knows what he likes, and don't be surprised if that's what developers and architects begin to work into their proposals and designs.

But Shen also hates flash, or designers who toot their own horn architecturally, and he has the architectural background to know it when he sees it. "I prefer the understated and sophisticated approach," he says. "I feel like . . . everybody wants to make a monument. Developers push the architect to do it because they want to stand out, because they have to market themselves.
My question: How much does Shen control the aesthetics of new developments?

After reading this article about him, I can't help but feel that he is part of the reason why we can't really expect much more than the (largely) unimaginative, shitty prefab Elkus designs with a token glass curtain wall or two thrown in that we've come to see lately. While I agree with the Mies quote "It is better to be good than to be original," at the very least WE NEED A BETTER "GOOD" TEMPLATE. A generic all-glass building that isn't just a box, ex. with some curves/shapes/spire thrown in is easy to design and better than most of what is being proposed.

Also, I am extremely disappointed that Shen is against any kind of iconic building. What kind of message does this send about Boston? I'm not a huge fan of most of the brutalism we got in the 60s/70s, but at least Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles/Paul Rudolph had the balls to create powerful, iconic structures, just like Bulfinch and H.H.Richardson did back in the day. Boston is always going to be chiefly known for its historic treasures, but that DOESN'T mean that we can't continue to be architecturally relevant.

I think that with the right leadership Boston could become the Athens of America again. Sorry for the rant...I was hoping that since we haven't made much progress repairing what we lost with the destruction of the West End, Scollay Square/Pemberton Square that the Seaport could be different
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