archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Boston's Built Environment > Boston Architecture & Urbanism

Boston Architecture & Urbanism Discussions and photos regarding Boston area architecture and urbanism.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-20-2008, 09:20 PM   #41
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Flickr Finds

Quote:
Urban Renewal had its excesses but where would the city be today without it?
"Isn't it time we finally got rid of Mechanics Hall and built a modern convention center?"

Last edited by Ron Newman; 03-20-2008 at 09:38 PM.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2008, 04:52 AM   #42
Scott
Senior Member
 
Scott's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 577
Re: Flickr Finds

Great reply Ron, you really put me in my place. How did you know that I drove the wrecking ball that destroyed Mechanics Hall?

Again the assumption here is that all things equal Boston Proper would still be as well off as today without an intervention; I doubt that is true. Boston very easily could have become a suburban dominated urban area that is rotten at its core just like Detroit. Heck, Boston didn't even possess a public bathroom till the dawn of the 21st Century.

The service economy you see today is as much the product of rt128's growth as Boston's. The fact that we maintained an urban core is almost a miracle.

btw- Why, in that era did they stop calling things Boston and started naming them New England? For example the New England Patriots or the New England Aquarium. The only brand or style Boston had at that point was as a thing of the past or worse a slum.
Scott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2008, 06:40 AM   #43
tobyjug
Senior Member
 
tobyjug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: downtown
Posts: 3,109
Re: Flickr Finds

The economy, the universities, hospitals, financial management houses, the residue of our architectural patrimony and the newcomers attracted by those features saved Boston. Who among you excitedly packed your bags, and set out for an apartment in Charles River Park with the words "I can't wait to see that City Hall Plaza!" tumbling from your lips?
When will people get over the big lie? "The New Boston" and urban renewal were a propaganda con perpetrated by self serving politicians, their connected buddies, and a gullible intelligentsia that was enamored of anything that had the label "progressive" attached to it.
The destruction of old Boston was executed with the zeal of "The Great Leap Forward" or one of Stalin's 5 Year Plans. The rows of Cornhill et al. subbed in for the kulaks, and were liquidated for "crimes against modernity".
The credo of this architectural mass murder was: "Let's show the world that Boston can be modern like all those other up and coming American cities." I laugh when someone complains that Boston is "Houston on the Bay".
To you I quote the words of our Dear Leader: "Mission Accomplished!"
tobyjug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2008, 06:49 AM   #44
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Flickr Finds

They became the New England Patriots when they moved out of Boston, to Foxborough.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2008, 12:04 PM   #45
Scott
Senior Member
 
Scott's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 577
Re: Flickr Finds

^ Another great single sentence answer Ron. Are you serious something or just being a dick? It is hard to tell sometimes.
Scott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2008, 12:16 PM   #46
czsz
Senior Member
 
czsz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: brooklyn
Posts: 6,052
Re: Flickr Finds

Quote:
The economy, the universities, hospitals, financial management houses, the residue of our architectural patrimony and the newcomers attracted by those features saved Boston. Who among you excitedly packed your bags, and set out for an apartment in Charles River Park with the words "I can't wait to see that City Hall Plaza!" tumbling from your lips?
When will people get over the big lie? "The New Boston" and urban renewal were a propaganda con perpetrated by self serving politicians, their connected buddies, and a gullible intelligentsia that was enamored of anything that had the label "progressive" attached to it.
The destruction of old Boston was executed with the zeal of "The Great Leap Forward" or one of Stalin's 5 Year Plans. The rows of Cornhill et al. subbed in for the kulaks, and were liquidated for "crimes against modernity".
The credo of this architectural mass murder was: "Let's show the world that Boston can be modern like all those other up and coming American cities." I laugh when someone complains that Boston is "Houston on the Bay".
To you I quote the words of our Dear Leader: "Mission Accomplished!"
^ Can we build an ArchBoston hall of fame just to house this post?
czsz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2008, 12:16 PM   #47
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Flickr Finds

Scott,

The original question speculated on what we'd be discussing today in 2008 if Boston hadn't undergone the 1950s and 60s urban renewal.

It's reasonable to suggest that without a Prudential Center, Mechanics Hall would still be standing and that we'd now be debating the merits of keeping it or replacing it with something more modern and functional.

It wasn't that long ago that people still wanted to save the (Old) Boston Garden, despite its increasingly decrepit condition.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2008, 05:27 PM   #48
Charlie_mta
Senior Member
 
Charlie_mta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,124
Re: Flickr Finds

I can understand why Boston 1950's/60's urban renewal took the pattern that it did. Concepts that had taken root during the Great Depression with construction of large superblock public housing projects and Robert Moses' expressway system in NYC were applied in full force in the laying out of the old Central Artery, the Government Center, Charles River Park, NY City Streets project, as well as the aborted NASA center at Kendall Sq. in Cambridge.

These concepts included:
- The "superblock" concept, with wide streets on a super grid, large buildings set back from the wide streets with large plazas, and very little mixed use in individual buildings.
- A robust expressway system, a city-wide system of wide major arterials, large parking garages in the city center, and a diminished transit system.
- Huge areas of poorly located open space and "park" land.
- Pedestrians poorly accommodated.
- Transit lines rerouted to serve suburban commuters at the expense of serving inner city areas (i.e. Charlestown, the South End and Roxbury).

I'm also thinking that the leveling of European cities during WWII provided some of the inspiration for the "wipe the slate clean" mentality of post WWII urban renewal in Boston.

My wish is that there could have instead been another model followed, wherein the old street grid and most of the existing buildings would have been retained, and a more targeted infusion of new buildings - low, mid, and high rise - on a tight density replacing unsalvageable buildings and introducing height and capacity where appropriate. Pocket parks could also have been added within the existing urban fabric without impacting density and urban feel.

Looking at how European cities infilled their areas cleared by bombing during WWII, they took much more this approach than the one Boston took. They re-created dense, diverse and urban neighborhoods, and generally did not follow the "high-rise in the park" concept that Boston adopted.

I think Boston could have become just as prosperous as it is today if it had redeveloped in the 1950's and 60's using a high density, selective approach to redevelopment, rather than replacement of huge areas of the center city with suburban type development.

Last edited by Charlie_mta; 03-21-2008 at 09:19 PM.
Charlie_mta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2008, 10:18 PM   #49
TomOfBoston
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 621
Re: Flickr Finds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_mta View Post

I think Boston could have become just as prosperous as it is today if it had redeveloped in the 1950's and 60's using a high density, selective approach to redevelopment, rather than replacement of huge areas of the center city with suburban type development.
My point is that we will never know for certain. Not sure if any of you guys grew up in Boston in the 50's and 60's like I did, but it was a dying city plodding along, still basking in its faded glory and consumed by tribalism: Yankee versus Irish etc. that would morph into black versus white, culminating in the 1974 school desegregation fights. While it would have been nice to have preserved more of the fabric of the old Boston, I think the city needed that jolt at that time to wake up. Coulda, shouldas can be risky. I am not saying we should erect a statue to Ed Logue, rather he was one historical figure in that era that eventually led to the Boston of today. Whether Boston would have become Paris or Detroit East, no one will ever know. Having lived through that era, my money would be on Detroit East.
TomOfBoston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2008, 10:33 PM   #50
tobyjug
Senior Member
 
tobyjug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: downtown
Posts: 3,109
Re: Flickr Finds

Sure did.
tobyjug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2008, 05:40 AM   #51
Scott
Senior Member
 
Scott's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 577
Re: Flickr Finds

I don't remember the 50's and 60's but I remember Boston of the '80's quite well. It was a thrilling place to be a teenager.

Unfortunately Emerson was leaving and Lahey Clinic had ripped down half of Mission Hill and moved to Burlington. Then all of a sudden something changed and houses around the city stopped being torched or ripped down and people actually started building. It was quite amazing.
Scott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2008, 06:08 AM   #52
Padre Mike
Senior Member
 
Padre Mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tampa
Posts: 654
Re: Flickr Finds

Another factor in the wholesale redevelopment of downtown was the growth of the suburbs, particularly of suburban malls. In my youth Boston was the only place to shop for clothing, furniture and home furnishings if you lived within 15 miles of the city. Also, only adults went shopping back then. Kids and teens didn't have much extra cash, and, aside from 45's (records, that is), comic books (like "MAD"), model cars and planes, and crystal radios (yes, I'm dating myself!), there was little that teens could afford, collected, or bought.
Some cities had decent centers where retail flourished, but by the 1960's they too were in decline due to the growth in use of the auto, the building of Rt. 128, and the sprawl of housing into former farm land. It was simply inconvenient to use Boston for shopping; stores closed and remained empty and the appearances of blight spread. Moving death of heavy industry in the city and the growth of light and high tech industry into the suburbs and the change in the way goods were transported (from rail to truck) were other factors that gutted much of the old industrial areas of central Boston. No doubt whole swatches of downtown were not pedestrian-friendly, nor, at the time, were many old building considered "historic" or architecturally significant. But I still wish the redevelopment was more careful and sensitive to the human scale.
Padre Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2008, 10:31 AM   #53
czsz
Senior Member
 
czsz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: brooklyn
Posts: 6,052
Re: Flickr Finds

Someone mentioned that the mentality that allowed for destruction of the urban fabric took some kind of subconscious inspiration from the destruction of European cities during WWII. If I may suggest a more contemporary parallel: "we had to destroy the village in order to save it".
czsz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2008, 03:11 PM   #54
Padre Mike
Senior Member
 
Padre Mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tampa
Posts: 654
Re: Flickr Finds

^Good point, czsz, and all to often true.
Padre Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2008, 09:21 PM   #55
Mike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Weymouth
Posts: 1,010
Re: Flickr Finds

A whole lot of BPL construction pics were posted today ... 404 of them:

http://flickr.com/photos/boston_publ...7604387910465/




Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2008, 11:33 AM   #56
castevens
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boston
Posts: 1,051
Re: Flickr Finds

really great photos, nice find!

Alternative architect's rendering of the BPL:



glad they didn't go with this one, it looks like a city's public high school
castevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2008, 01:01 PM   #57
AdamBC
Senior Member
 
AdamBC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Brookline
Posts: 568
Re: Flickr Finds

That meant that it would look like all the other 'public use' buildings at the time. Not a crime, but glad they went with something that strove to be better.
AdamBC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2008, 08:38 PM   #58
briv
Administrator
 
briv's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 2,083
Send a message via AIM to briv
Re: Flickr Finds

Those are great. Nice find, Mike.

I always wondered what this block of Boylston looked like before the Darth Vader building:
briv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2008, 10:14 PM   #59
Padre Mike
Senior Member
 
Padre Mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tampa
Posts: 654
Re: Flickr Finds

I believe Darth Vader sits on the spot of the old Hotel Kensington, the lions from which (now gold gilt) were moved to the main entrance of the Copley Plaza Hotel after sitting in storage for decades.
Padre Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2008, 04:36 PM   #60
GMACK24
Senior Member
 
GMACK24's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Boston
Posts: 608
Re: Flickr Finds

Implosion of the Travelers Insurance Building on High Street, Boston, Massachusetts.


Building Demolition - 1988

http://flickr.com/photos/paul-w-lock...7604405424285/

He has a lot of other fun stuff too . . .

http://flickr.com/photos/paul-w-locke/
GMACK24 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
flickr finds, photography

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dubai on Flickr vanshnookenraggen General Architecture & Urban Planning 5 01-30-2009 07:36 PM
Google Map finds vanshnookenraggen General 0 03-03-2008 06:49 PM
Urban Planning Firm's Flickr vanshnookenraggen General Architecture & Urban Planning 1 02-15-2008 09:31 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.