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Old 04-02-2017, 12:45 PM   #1
Hubman
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Unsung Buildings

Here is a place to share your favorite buildings that were never really appreciated or famous, though you think they should have.

Here are some of my faves:





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Old 04-02-2017, 07:45 PM   #2
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Re: Unsung Buildings

I was in the last two just last week both beautiful buildings
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Old 04-02-2017, 10:47 PM   #3
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Re: Unsung Buildings

I've always loved the Carpenter Center at Harvard, a Le Corbusier building.

Brutalist? I wouldn't classify it as such. To me it is much slimmer and lighter than that, more like a 1950's Southern California mid-century modern.

I used to walk through it via the ramps everyday on the way home from high school back in the mid-1960's.



Photo from Harvard's website.
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Old 04-03-2017, 07:00 AM   #4
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Re: Unsung Buildings

^ I've always liked the Carpenter Center too.

So here's my input...this may be controversial...but I really like the Frank Gehry remake of this building. I just think it captures old-school Boston & something fresh in the same parcel:

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Old 04-03-2017, 11:11 AM   #5
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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^ I've always liked the Carpenter Center too.

So here's my input...this may be controversial...but I really like the Frank Gehry remake of this building. I just think it captures old-school Boston & something fresh in the same parcel:

Cool. Where is that building?
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Old 04-03-2017, 12:09 PM   #6
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Re: Unsung Buildings

^ Mass Ave & Newbury
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:45 PM   #7
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Re: Unsung Buildings

What does everyone think?

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Old 04-03-2017, 02:52 PM   #8
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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What does everyone think?
Hate the company, love the tower. So glad the developers had the guts to build this on spec. Great views from the top if you ever have the chance to go up there!
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Old 04-03-2017, 03:03 PM   #9
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Hate the company, love the tower. So glad the developers had the guts to build this on spec. Great views from the top if you ever have the chance to go up there!
I hate the company too. But the tower... NEO-DECO SPLENDOR! I imagine it does have a great view, since it overlooks an area with few high rises taller than itself.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:13 PM   #10
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Re: Unsung Buildings

In a town as old and cultured as Boston, I figure there are way too many to count. But I'll cite three as *special mentions*, for a variety of reasons:

1 Winter St. aka the Corner Mall building

1.) Overshadowed by its contemporary across the street, the Burnham Building, along with several other neo-Gothic/Beaux Arts jewels in Downtown Crossing from the building boom of ca. 1880-1920.

2.) Hated at ground-level for the badly dated, vintage 80s [but not in a good way] Corner Mall marquee (aka Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

3.) But oh, those repeating gargoyles! They make up for everything as far as I'm concerned:

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/56/12...d0ef37c4_z.jpg

The McCormack Courthouse

1.) Built between 1931-33 during the depths of the Depression, as the global picture darkened immensely with the rise of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Japan's fascist regime.

2.) Yet that did not preclude the architects from adding numerous fascist motifs strung along the top parapets (tough to see in this photo, but they're there, trust me--easily viewed from 50 Milk St.)

http://www.rdkengineers.com/images/G...d_VERTICAL.jpg

3.) The Grain Exchange Building

It used to be so much cooler when the big holiday bow was tied around it each Christmas season. Of course, the only reason for that was so drivers on the Elevated Artery could see it. So to restore the building to its former prominence, you'd have to rebuild the Artery. Let's not go there....

http://content-rb.related.com/SiteCo...hange/Main.jpg
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:22 PM   #11
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Re: Unsung Buildings

Isn't the Grain Exchange Bldg pretty much universally loved (or to use the parlance of this thread, "sung")?

my own "unsung" fave would have to be exchange place. it's really cool and unusual (especially for boston) and i love how it kept the original structure and plays nicely with it. but for some reason -- maybe one of you with actual architectural education background can enlighten me -- whenever i bring it up to architecture dorks/snobs/nerds, it gets a "meh" at best.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5254/5...552ec9a2_b.jpg
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:37 PM   #12
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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3.) The Grain Exchange Building

It used to be so much cooler when the big holiday bow was tied around it each Christmas season. Of course, the only reason for that was so drivers on the Elevated Artery could see it. So to restore the building to its former prominence, you'd have to rebuild the Artery. Let's not go there....

http://content-rb.related.com/SiteCo...hange/Main.jpg
I'm not sure about this winter, but the bow was on this building quite recently. (within the last couple of years)
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:34 PM   #13
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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I'm not sure about this winter, but the bow was on this building quite recently. (within the last couple of years)
Correct! I first saw it Nov. 27th 2016 and took this photo on Dec. 8th.

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Old 04-03-2017, 06:49 PM   #14
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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Isn't the Grain Exchange Bldg pretty much universally loved (or to use the parlance of this thread, "sung")?

https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5254/5...552ec9a2_b.jpg
You're right, I should have modulated the Grain Exchange--and McCormack--to nominate them to the "ironically transforming across time/culture/usage" category or something.

RE: the McCormack, it's just amazing to me--really "unsung" you might say?--that there isn't more commentary on how our architectural elite/vanguard was so smitten with fascism's "promise" ca. 1932 that it would really adopt fascist bundles as a pervasive motif.

On a building meant to symbolize the enduring strength of a democratic republic, no less!

Back to the Grain Exchange: sorry I'd missed that the bow was restored this year; but again, how much cooler was the bow when viewed from eye-level at 55 mph on the Artery--so let's rebuild the Artery, ha!
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Old 04-03-2017, 08:04 PM   #15
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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RE: the McCormack, it's just amazing to me--really "unsung" you might say?--that there isn't more commentary on how our architectural elite/vanguard was so smitten with fascism's "promise" ca. 1932 that it would really adopt fascist bundles as a pervasive motif.
The fasces (literally meaning "bundle" in Latin, so "fascist bundle" is redundant) was a Roman symbol of authority - a bundle of sticks with a hatchet in the middle. It's been used as a motif ever since, and long predates the European fascist movements. In the USA, among other things, it's found on the back of the Mercury dime, and is a common motif used in art deco buildings along with other stylized motifs of authority like the eagle. That Mussolini adopted a well-known symbol of his authority Roman authority, no less and the fasces' use in design at the time have no direct relation... and if anything, the latter inspired the former, not the other way around.

Last edited by FK4; 04-03-2017 at 08:06 PM. Reason: few grammar errors
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Old 04-03-2017, 08:09 PM   #16
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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^ I've always liked the Carpenter Center too.

So here's my input...this may be controversial...but I really like the Frank Gehry remake of this building. I just think it captures old-school Boston & something fresh in the same parcel:
Yeah -- I pretty much can't stand Gehry's work, but this building is an exception... the renovation is understated and definitely improves upon the original building.
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:14 AM   #17
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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That Mussolini adopted a well-known symbol of his authority Roman authority, no less and the fasces' use in design at the time have no direct relation... and if anything, the latter inspired the former, not the other way around.
So you're saying there's no connection between Mussolini's adoption of them and their usage on the McCormack... I find that highly unlikely, given the timing, and would love to see documentation that proves that. That said, I apologize for the thread derail!

Let me try to re-rail with two more unsungs I frequently cherish...

441 Stuart

http://bostonrealestateobserver.com/...5/100-1308.jpg

Overshadowed by so much else (literally and hype-wise) in the Copley Sq. area, but this is such a delightful introduction to the glories of Copley Sq. for the millions of drivers who spin-out of the Pike heading eastbound and have it smack in their face as the first building they see once the off-ramp dumps them onto Stuart St.

12 Post Office Square

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C8AkSv4WkAAHfpI.jpg

Just a precious little gem in PO Square. Charming in its own right, but so much of its adorableness stems from how its hemmed in by the "tall timber" that surrounds it on all sides. Which makes it kind of a respite/sanctuary building, in quiet repose, from the rest of PO Square's hustle 'n' bustle.
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Old 04-04-2017, 11:15 AM   #18
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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441 Stuart

http://bostonrealestateobserver.com/...5/100-1308.jpg

Overshadowed by so much else (literally and hype-wise) in the Copley Sq. area, but this is such a delightful introduction to the glories of Copley Sq. for the millions of drivers who spin-out of the Pike heading eastbound and have it smack in their face as the first building they see once the off-ramp dumps them onto Stuart St.
That is a great building! When was it built?
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:52 PM   #19
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Re: Unsung Buildings

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That is a great building! When was it built?
Per this BBJ story, it's 90 years old. Obviously overshadowed by the Art Deco gems on Federal St. in specific and Financial Dist. in general, but still a marvel.

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/re...stuart-st.html

I'll finish with two more unsungs (in my mind):

25-33 State St.

http://www.bostonherald.com/sites/de...?itok=0ux02vWR

25 State is the Brookline Bank bldg.; 33 State has Allen Edmonds at its base. They are not part of the Congress Sq. development but they anchor its northern edge. I love how they combine to form the "leading edge" of Downtown Crossing when you're approaching it from Haymarket, driving down Congress St.

Since one of them is a flatiron building, let me ask the question--are all flatiron buildings more-or-less unsung in the way they create sharp textural edges to various districts?
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Old 04-04-2017, 02:47 PM   #20
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are all flatiron buildings more-or-less unsung in the way they create sharp textural edges to various districts?
I'd say they are! The flat iron building in NYC is famous for being skinny, but Flat Irons are also cool (NYC or not) because they add a new character to neighborhood-one that deviates from the square, block-like personality of a city.
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