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Old 01-11-2007, 02:04 PM   #1
statler
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Under Construction Harvard - Allston Campus

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Originally Posted by The Globe
Harvard details Allston campus plan

By Donovan Slack, Globe Staff

Harvard University today released a sweeping plan to transform a 250-acre swath of Allston into an expanse of academic facilities, student housing and a new public square that officials said would be a twin to Cambridge's Harvard Square across the river, with a plaza, retail stores, theaters and a new art museum.

The university's 50-year master plan, submitted to Boston planning officials today, also calls for putting 20 acres of Soldiers Field Road underground in order to keep traffic out of view and replace surface roadway with tree-lined promenades.

Harvard officials said the project is likely to cost several billion dollars. The first phases, including a major science building and a museum that would house collections now at Harvard's Fogg and other art museums, are expected to get underway before year's end.

"There are a lot of big ideas that we wanted to put in this master plan," said Kathy Spiegelman, chief planner for the university's Allston campus.

The centerpiece of the plan is a "major urban space" to be called Barry's Corner.

With a large plaza, shopping and entertainment, the plan says "it will be urban, active, and when all the facilities are completed, a bustling scene."

Student housing would be sprinkled along the Charles River, and athletic fields and Harvard academic buildings will fill out the area. Harvard officials characterized the master plan is a framework that will serve as a guide for development. Harvard must seek additional approval from the city as it prepares detailed plans of individual buildings and developments.

When the first 20-year phase of the project is finished, officials said it will include some 9 million square feet of new building space and create at least 4,000 new jobs.
Posted by the Boston Globe City & Region Desk at 01:57 PM
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Link to the Havard plan .PDF
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:55 PM   #2
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Maybe putting that portion of Soldiers Field Road underground will pave the way to doing the same with Storrow Drive some day.
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Old 01-11-2007, 03:39 PM   #3
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From looking it over it looks pretty good except for the "Barry's Corner" plans. The athletic fields are too close and will suck the life out of the planned square. Plus, "Barry's Corner" seems to be surrounded with the academic buildings and the housing is located too far away to provide life.
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Old 01-11-2007, 04:04 PM   #4
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My thoughts exactly on the tennis courts. They are way to close to Barry's Corner to create a cohesive and dense urban nucleus.
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Old 01-11-2007, 04:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenZen
My thoughts exactly on the tennis courts. They are way to close to Barry's Corner to create a cohesive and dense urban nucleus.
It's hard to tell from the plan, but it looks like the tennis courts are on top of buildings, so they may not effect the density at all. It also seems there are a few parcel Harvard doesn't control directly across Barry's Corner that are shown as being unchanged from how they are now, and clearly they would be redeveloped from their current uses (a gas station and car lot, I think).
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Old 01-11-2007, 04:36 PM   #6
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As Chumbolly already said, it looks like the tennis courts are on the roof of a two story structure, so perhaps all is not lost, although whatever is under those courts will probably be some large gym space with minimal access points, so there still won't be very good urbanism on that stretch. Plus, is that circular pool necessary? Seems that plaza could be half the size and still be more than appropriate.

Either way, I don't see the shape of Barry's Corner easily lending itself to great streetlife. The public fields to the west and the gas station (for however long it holds out) will be barriers to mixing Harvard people and existing neighborhood folks.

..Now having looked at all this redevelopment, I have an incredible urge to play Sim City and gentrify the shit outta any remaining poor areas!
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Old 01-11-2007, 05:01 PM   #7
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I totally agree with the thoughts expressed here about Barry's Corner but I think the poor design has more to do with the fact that it is on the edge and Harvard only controls part of it. If Harvard owned the adjacent two lots across the street then they could really build something.

It also shows that these architects don't know how to knit the two areas together very well.

Having said that the other parks look really nice. I just hope they succeed in making this a 'place'. Other wise this will be the most expensive suburban office park ever.
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Old 01-11-2007, 05:17 PM   #8
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I do wonder, if Harvard can buy a large strip-mall and partially empty it out (much to the annoyance of neighbors who liked having a K-Mart around), why can't they get rid of a couple of gas stations?
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:11 PM   #9
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I'm just gonna put the rendering here.


Comparison:


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Old 01-11-2007, 09:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowesst
Maybe putting that portion of Soldiers Field Road underground will pave the way to doing the same with Storrow Drive some day.
Ay, especially since theyre almost the same road. Will BU pay for it?
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Old 01-11-2007, 11:25 PM   #11
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Harvard plan site

Official Harvard University website news story, images, links and study can be found here:

http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/...9-allston.html

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Old 01-12-2007, 08:00 AM   #12
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The major thing that would help give this place life would be for Western Ave to have ground floor retail with housing above for its entire length, with no megablocks. Plus, the streets need to be narrowed, not widened as envisioned. I really see no chance of those things happening.
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Old 01-12-2007, 08:37 AM   #13
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I like how they have dedicated bike lanes all throughout the area. North Harvard St., as it currently stands is AWFUL.
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:06 PM   #14
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I'm also skeptical about the plans for Barry's corner -- the current plan does not have enough high density development around intersection to create the kind of vibrancy they want. I'm guessing that Harvard assumes the parcels adjacent to Barry's Corner that they don't control will get redeveloped by private developers, such that the square will develop more organically (like Harvard Square originally did).

Also, I couldn't figure out where they intend to locate the transit hub...Barry's Corner will need lots of transit connections to thrive, but putting the transit hub there (located as it is at the periphery of the new campus) would make it less convenient to Harvard itself.
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:18 PM   #15
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"Barry's Corner"? Sounds like a rural crossroads. I thought this was going to be "Allston Square".

I hope much of the architecture is placeholding. The mediocrity of the vaguely contemporary brick designs shown is depressing, especially considering many will be mirroring Lowell House and such across the river. Harvard should either find masterful architects to do something completely novel and interesting or stick to the strict traditionalism that worked so well with Stern's Spangler Hall. Anyone who doubts this should head to the northern end of the Cambridge campus, where Oxford Street is lined with boxy, utilitarian buildings no doubt conceived in the same idiom of "brick contemporary".
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aws129
Also, I couldn't figure out where they intend to locate the transit hub...Barry's Corner will need lots of transit connections to thrive, but putting the transit hub there (located as it is at the periphery of the new campus) would make it less convenient to Harvard itself.
Agreed - if they want to make this on par with Harvard Square it's going to need some sort of subway line or a helluva lot of buses.
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:19 PM   #17
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And the opposition begins...

http://www.boston.com/news/local/mas...cross_charles/

Quote:
Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who chairs the Historical Commission, said the university's plans to submerge the roadway and build a pedestrian bridge over the Charles appear mainly to benefit the university and not members of the community.

"Clearly, the university is treating the river like some moat that they own," Galvin said. "It is not theirs, and it will be protected."
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aws129
Also, I couldn't figure out where they intend to locate the transit hub...Barry's Corner will need lots of transit connections to thrive, but putting the transit hub there (located as it is at the periphery of the new campus) would make it less convenient to Harvard itself.
Agreed - if they want to make this on par with Harvard Square it's going to need some sort of subway line or a helluva lot of buses.

I don't think Barry's Corner will be the nexus of this development. It's probably more of a gateway. According to the executive summary, it seems as though the intersection of N. Harvard and Stadium Way will be the hub of density, activity and transit.
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Old 01-12-2007, 03:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who chairs the Historical Commission, said the university's plans to submerge the roadway and build a pedestrian bridge over the Charles appear mainly to benefit the university and not members of the community.

"Clearly, the university is treating the river like some moat that they own," Galvin said. "It is not theirs, and it will be protected."
Is there something I'm not getting? The only people who use this area along the river currently are those using the recreation trail, and common sense would say that decking over the road and creating more recreation space would do just that - create more recreation space. Harvard didn't say they were going to put up big fences blocking off their property from the public's, so where's the fire?

And czsz, where'd you disappear to? You've been MIA from here and WiredNY for quite some time now..
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Old 01-12-2007, 04:00 PM   #20
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Massachusetts Historical Commission

There's a reason it's referred to as the Massachusetts Hysterical Commission.
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