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Boston City Hall

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Posted

EVERYONE knows about the infamous Boston City Hall, and its love it or (most) hate it design.

Well......the landmark may be seeing its day's numbered. Menino, in his quest to completely change the city in his final term, has proposed moving City Hall to the South Boston waterfront at Dry Dock 4 (where BofA Pavillion currently sits.)

He wold then sell the current city hall and the sad excuse for a plaza around it to private developers. My own speculation is that he would require the RFP's to include a requirement for a new tower at the site to reach 2000 feet, and include his full name in the building's name.

While I'm not overly opposed to this idea....because GAWD, Government Center is ugly, I would really want to see some truly thoughtful urban design connect the area. Public and open, without being too vast and cold (what's there now), but also more lively with retail, and appropriately addressing the exisiting adjacent uses. A real jewel could be created, or the can screw it up even worse with a few scattered highrises poking up out of a concrete plaza.

My other issue is, THE SILVER LINE SUCKS!!! When they can improve service (and I DO mean light rail), THEN keep adding all the high-traffic development to the SB Waterfront.

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Posted

This gets brought up a lot, though previous proposals had City Hall moving to near the new Police HQ, which is approximately at the geographic center of the city. I happen to really like City Hall, I wish some of the original design ideas that were scrapped for cost would be realized. They should stop d*cking around with all this talk of moving City Government and actually improve City Hall Plaza.

I don't think moving City Hall to the waterfront is a very bright idea, it's rather dumb to remove that valuable land from the tax rolls, the court house has already done that.

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Posted

Here is a article from the BBJ that gives some additional details.

Here are a few select qutoes.

Menino expects City Hall and the surrounding land that makes up City Hall Plaza to garner at least $300 million from developers interested in redeveloping the site.

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Posted

*cough* ego *cough*

Seriously, City Hall is not all that bad. I have to admit I used to hate it completely, but I had someone show me a sketch of the place, sans the brick walls, but with greenery and such as it was supposedly going to have, both around the building as well as on and within it. It actually is a pretty good idea, just executed wrong.

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Posted

I'm probably not going to make a lot of friends in the city when I claim the new ICA is just the city hall hung over the waterfront and coated in glass.

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Posted

I'm probably not going to make a lot of friends in the city when I claim the new ICA is just the city hall hung over the waterfront and coated in glass.

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Posted

I guess I have mixed feeling about the buildings. It's famous, and was the inspiration for many buildings around the country, so for that I think it deserves to be saved.....BUT, I just can't imagine how it could be appropriately incorporated into an urban space.

The problem also with the buildings is it looks uninviting to visitors. This would be a great building for the FBI, etc.

I've heard people say they should open up the base, but I disagree, because then you are changing the architectual distinction that the build effectively conveys.

Today's BBJ reports today there is some backlash among those who want to preserve the maritime industrial intentions for that area.

I think my opinion at this point is, unless they upgrade the Silverline to LRT between South Station and Silver Line Way, then keep City Hall where it is, sell of some of the plaza, and redeign the rest with lots of trees and retail kiosks.

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Posted

Mayor Menino recently announced plans to sell the present City Hall and surronding plaza. He further said he wants to build a new City Hall in what was the old Army Base.

I think it's a great idea. Boston City Hall resembles something out of Stalinist East Germany. There are drawback to the proposed site. Public transport is the most important. Presently, the area is served by the Silver Line, a single bus line. The site is on the entrance to the Inner Harbor. It could be something to show off Boston to visitors.

Let's see how this shapes up.

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Posted

I'm concerned about the possible loss of Boston City Hall.

We're going through a period now of modernist landmarks from the 1950s-70s being taken down or transformed beyond recognition. There are parallels here with the loss of 19th century landmarks being lost during that era.

Not every modernist structure is worth saving but we shouldn't be getting rid of the really signature ones like Boston City Hall. Let's improve the plaza in front instead.

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Posted

Not every modernist structure is worth saving but we shouldn't be getting rid of the really signature ones like Boston City Hall...

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Posted

Why do you see it as a signature building? It's a big building. It's in a prominent location. But it does nothing for me. I'd be curious to hear someone articulate what they like about it.

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Posted

Wrecking ball tolls for City Hall [The Boston Globe]

I find Mr. Bean's opinions to be provincial, shortsighted, and unimaginative.

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Posted

City Hall takes the fall [The Boston Globe]

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Posted

You know, some people like brutalism and some people don't. Myself, I like the building because it is very sculptural -- it's got a dynamic and dramatic play of forms. I like the rhythm of the forms as well -- smaller sets of voids playing off larger ones. I also like the deep shadows and textured surfaces. I also like the heroic scale and the austerity.

Beyond that, the building has had a huge influence on architecture. In Providence, to give one local example, there is a structure called the Fogarty Building, now slated for demolition, that is clearly based on the city hall. There are many other examples as well.

For better or worse, Boston City Hall is one of the "greatest hits" of 1960s architecture. That's what I meant by singnature.

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Posted

Fine - I will say it. This is nothing but an ego trip and a big waste of money. So it isn't the prettiest building in the world. But I think it is a total waste of funds that are depsparately needed elsewhere to sell this building, purchase new land, and then have to pay to buy a new monument to one's self. If the City Hall is too ugly, what about the Federal building? Or the T stations? If you really have to spend that money on something, then fix up the public area around the building. I just think this is a big waste to throw the building away simply because it isn't a pretty building.

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Posted

But don't you think the net affect will be a cash surplus rather than new debt. My assumption is the city will make more money by selling the old City Hall and Plaza than it would cost to build a new city hall on the land they currently own. That said, sure, I think it's an ego trip, and the proposed location is in the completely wrong spot, but I don't think it is financially unsound.

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Posted

Fine - I will say it. This is nothing but an ego trip...

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Posted

But don't you think the net affect will be a cash surplus rather than new debt. My assumption is the city will make more money by selling the old City Hall and Plaza than it would cost to build a new city hall on the land they currently own.

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Posted

I don't think the City Hall should be moved from the center of downtown. It's called "Government Center" for a reason, city government should remain there. However, if they hate the old building so much, can't they build on the adjacent acre of nothingness? Sell the old monster when the new one is completed and it can be razed for development. Would make moving the offices a lot easier as well.

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Posted

Unfortunately I tend to doubt they would ever be able to stick to a budget. And as pointed out, you are not building somewhere that is any easier to build on. The value of the land in government Center is not that great, and you either have to find someone who WILL work in city hall, or who is willing to spend the money to tear it down.

So, quite honestly no, I don't think you will end up with a surpluss. The land is not that much more valuable there.

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Posted

City Hall takes the fall [The Boston Globe]

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Posted

How to save City Hall. Fight or blight? [The Phoenix]

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On Moving City Hall ]The Phoenix]

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While I can appreciate the arguments that the present City Hall is a fairly representative example of the Brutalist architecture of its period, I see this as a splendid opportunity to knit the city back together. Why not undo the arrogant ugliness of City Hall Plaza and rebuild a thoughtful modern-day reinterpretation of Scollay Square? Sure it's a landmark of sorts, but I have never been a fan of Kallmann, McKinnell and Knowles in any event. I'd much rather see the fabric of the city restored than to have just another big tower in its place. Does anyone actually like the West End? This represents a brilliant opportunity for healing design. Bring back Scollay Square!

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Posted

I don't think you will ever get rid of that big open plaza. No matter what building goes there. I think that no matter what plans you make for Government Center, the presence of the federal buildings around it will ultimately drive keeping that area clear and open for simple security measures. No, I would not be surprised if a plan for suddenly surrounding the buildings by an impenetrable water feature might not take shape, but I wouldn't expect buildings or trees.

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