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Old 01-18-2017, 01:17 PM   #41
Arlington
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

But what if we were forced by budget constraints to fix what we have? (A fact of life in even the most progressive & urbanist of cities)

What would it take to make it work? Here are some suggestions:
1) adding kiosk-sized retail in the bays created by the big columns of the face along Standiford
2) Bringing the entrances out; from deeply recessed to actually being under the "fake portico" on Standiford.
3) Covering, insulating & coloring the underside of the beton brut overhangs
4) Adding "townhouse" sized infill on the freaky-wide parts of the sidewalk
5) Putting a street facing tower on the triangular parking lot Standiford@Merrimack separate it by an enclosed atrium (solve some of the energy efficiency problems of the "bare concrete tube in the air" stuff
6) Build another tall thing in the courtyard or its opening.
7) Cut some windows in the bare faces. Install modern glass. Connecticut College (New London CT) completely transformed its horrible brutalist box with new light.


Shain Library After:

There are so many needlessly-blank facades at the GSC. Maybe a giant masonry blade is called for, not the wrecker's ball.
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:27 PM   #42
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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5) Putting a street facing tower on the triangular parking lot Standiford@Merrimack separate it by an enclosed atrium (solve some of the energy efficiency problems of the "bare concrete tube in the air" stuff).
I've always thought they should do that! What a waste, having a tiny surface lot at that spot. The tower would produce the value to make the development worthwhile, meanwhile the street level engagement at that corner could be vastly improved. The triangular shape of the overall complex always looked like it was missing its "nose" there.
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:45 PM   #43
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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Shain Library After:
Freaking amazing stuff from SchwartzSilver.
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:28 PM   #44
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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Freaking amazing stuff from SchwartzSilver.
[On a recent rookie walk across CC's campus] I stared and stared at the "after", trying to figure out just how bad the "before" must have been. On the one hand, you could tell the original was 197X brutalist terrible, but given how fine the "after" looked, it was hard to believe it had been *that* bad. Only Google Images could capture how transformational a bit of wood, glass and alucobond(?) could be.

Obviously they stuffed the redone building full of brightly colored midcentury modern furniture (which goes a long way), but at its core the change was:

- Big glass entryway
- Wooden ceiling and sideways light scoop above old roofline
- Pushing the entry from recessed to bump out (and glass)
- Selective increase in window size (they worked within the panel dimensions of the existing precast cladding)
- Enlarged "drawbridge" plaza with glass balcony rails (instead of jersey barriers)

A better before-after, below, should inspire what the GSC could be for not much money (CT College was working on a tight budget given no "name" donor)
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:36 PM   #45
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

Reminds me a bit of the street-level treatment they did to One Broadway in Cambridge:

Before:


After:
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:28 PM   #46
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My approach to redevelopment of GSC, the JFK Fed (low part), and 1-3 Center Plaza (Shorenstein) is to section the buildings (like they did at GC Garage) for the gradual changeover to tall, slender mixed use, office/hotel/residences. Go for the big public spectacle; extortion play for max public benefit, and max height–the works.

This would include getting new State Services bldg, new Suffolk Court/offices, new City and Mayoral offices, and Fed.gov offices. The Suffolk Court tower would be changed to residences + community space on the lower floors. The aging deco bldg seems a perfect spot for a long awaited Boston History Museum.

We need an aggressive plan for maximum velocity. The moment 115 Fed starts digging, you start the countdown.

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Old 01-18-2017, 04:49 PM   #47
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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Reminds me a bit of the street-level treatment they did to One Broadway in Cambridge.....
A jarring transition, shockingly bad treatment, and (apparently) functionally useless "upgrade". Every time I see this I can't help but shake my head and wonder wtf they were thinking.
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:58 PM   #48
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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A jarring transition, shockingly bad treatment, and (apparently) functionally useless "upgrade". Every time I see this I can't help but shake my head and wonder wtf they were thinking.
Yes, One Broadway is how NOT to do it. I don't even think they modified the curtain wall settings from the Revit defaults.
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:40 PM   #49
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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Yes, One Broadway is how NOT to do it. I don't even think they modified the curtain wall settings from the Revit defaults.
Ok ok...they did it on the cheap...and it looks cheap : )

(but it's an example of someone trying to address similar issues...e.g., the lobby is much brighter and more inviting than it used to be)
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:59 PM   #50
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

One Broadway is a bit better, but didn't even put a canopy over wherever the front door is. Still can't tell the "Front" from the "Side"

The GSC is interestingly articulated, but often opposite of intuition (what looks like the entrance canopy/portico turns out to be blank walls , with the actual entrance doors are off to the side and deeply recessed).

All the GSC's grand stairways don't (to my knowledge) lead anyplace practical.

Basically what makes the GSC great is what makes it a disaster: it is building full of head-fakes--parts that stand out and then are dishonest about what they're doing there--that could be amended to make its parts do what they look like they should be doing...that'd be my plan, anyway.

What wins at the [re-made] Shain library is the big, obvious "enter here...we'll even put a hat on it and bump it out to meet you on the plaza" and "enter in where you can see in". Completely readable and inviting from way off.

Look at the GSC and ask, where did you think you should enter? Make that the entrance.

Look at the little bulbs that stick out like balconies--the exact placement and proportion of a balcony from which you or Juliet or Mussolini might want to gaze out-- but then have no windows? Not even for Il Duce? Creepy. So cut 'em open and glaze them.

Look at the staircases and odd doo-dads and make it obvious that they're ornament...or, heck, turn them into cascading fountains or something, so they're obviously non-functional.

As of now the stairs are freakishly creepy--staircases you're pretty sure that if you walked up them there'd be a tiny sign saying "please use plaza entrance" or maybe just a blank wall.
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:14 AM   #51
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

Just call in the damn bulldozers and put the whole complex out if it's misery! It's good to imagine how to improve this mess but imagine what could be built on this huge parcel of prime real estate in it's place.
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:08 AM   #52
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

So in 2 years this board has gone from "Paul Rudolph's work must be protected at any cost" to "Let's just tear this fucker down; I don't like it."

Sums it up, doesn't it.
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:11 AM   #53
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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So in 2 years this board has gone from "Paul Rudolph's work must be protected at any cost" to "Let's just tear this fucker down; I don't like it."

Sums it up, doesn't it.
? One or two people do not speak for the whole board.
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:15 AM   #54
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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So in 2 years this board has gone from "Paul Rudolph's work must be protected at any cost" to "Let's just tear this fucker down; I don't like it."

Sums it up, doesn't it.
That is not everyone's consensus...would absolutely love to save it...

...but gotta find a way to make it more sustainable (e.g., gov has not been caring for the building; there's rusted rebar poking out on several corners) and makes better use of its parcel (e.g., seriously, a surface parking lot at a key buildable location?)...

Most of this discussion has been about making the building more public-welcoming, and helping the parcel be more value-generating so that it can be maintained/sustained...

I mean, I know this style isn't everyone's cup of tea, but this is freakin' cool...you know no one is ever gonna build this again, so I say we gotta save it:



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Old 01-19-2017, 11:47 AM   #55
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

Any photos with people in them? To me that's the challenge. It is such a cool, irreplaceable, unrepeatable piece of art, and yet is from the era when architects were actively forgetting how buildings naturally interact with a diverse pedestrian city.

IM Pei's Christian Science center/assembly/colonade has a lot of the same problems (pretty to look at, scary to walk through, impossible to walk across, too much Le Corbusier & GM Futurama), and a partial solution in both places seems to be (1) increasing density and (2) pedestrian improvements
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Old 01-21-2017, 12:10 AM   #56
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

Cool photos, but creepy. The architecture looks like a Stephen King movie or a bad acid trip.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:02 PM   #57
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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I didn't know it was supposed to have a tower.
Nice photos at: http://prudolph.lib.umassd.edu/node/4690

That tower is really ugly, but kind of nice in a weird way.

I wonder how tall that would have been. It looks to be in the 250-400 range.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:06 PM   #58
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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I didn't realize this building was still used for the mentally ill. There's got to be a more pleasant location for this service for their sake.
I wonder if they're mentally ill because they had to stay in that building or because of something else.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:57 PM   #59
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

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I wonder if they're mentally ill because they had to stay in that building or because of something else.
According to urban legend (read: Post 21 of this thread), Rudolph designed the building inside & out to mimic the chaotic minds of the mentally ill people it was serving. Fucked up, plain & simple. Knowing Rudolph, I wouldn't put it past him.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:40 PM   #60
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Re: Paul Rudolph's Government Services Center

^^Thank you DD.

This building is a travesty on so many levels.
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