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Behold the new Government Center Transit (“T”) stop in Boston, Mass., with the 1966-vintage “Brutalist” City Hall looming balefully in the background. What you see here is the artist’s computer rendering. See below for a photograph of the actual thing under construction.

Thanks to Architecture blogger David Brussat for illuminating the failures of this humdinger:

— 32 feet tall, will be covered with pigeon droppings in a week
— No way to clean except w/ fork lift
— Poorly detailed – Norman Foster on the cheap
— Looks like KMart does Renzo Piano

I’d add that the actual entrance pavilion (if that’s what it is) looks remarkably like the New York Thruway rest stops of yesteryear — homage to a 1957 Soviet cafeteria.

T stop

 

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

13 Responses to “May 2015” Subscribe

  1. 41259mike May 4, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Hard to believe you could do worse than the pos / City Hall, in the background.

  2. richardguerin May 4, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    I have an architect friend who, despite having very conservative tastes, has a weakspot for City Hall claiming that its ideas are noble and its function is generally misunderstood. Count me among those who don’t understand it.

    Instead of being a easily understood hierarchy – where the bigger spacious lower floors draw people in and the little slits of windows at the top are for the bureaucrats, what mostpeople see is a SuperMax style impenetrable fortress that’s about as drab as drab gets.

    The whole of “Govt. Centa” needs to come down and be reconceived by reasonable people.

  3. hiruitnguyse May 4, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

    I always love eyesore of the month, and I paused to decide what it reminded me of before I scrolled down to look at other peoples comments.

    A Frame Filter Press was the inspiration for this structure.

  4. psteckler May 4, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    Of course, this is the station formerly known as “Scollay Street”, where Charlie-on-the-MTA was daily thrown a sandwich by his wife. Could a latter-day Charlie’s wife even be persuaded to enter this station?

  5. michael tyrrell May 4, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    The building should be oval, or elliptical in plan to reflect the historic Sears Crescent, and similar Center Plaza immediately adjacent. How the hell did they miss that? It’s too late now. We’re stuck with this turkey for a lonnnng time.

  6. Peter VE May 5, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    I really look forward to the passage through that box in the heat of a summer afternoon. It will be a proper introduction to the placeless hell of City Hall Plaza.

  7. jerri blank May 8, 2015 at 10:39 am #

    I know Boston City Hall is generally loathed but couldn’t they have at least tried to integrate the transit hub into the existing plaza?

  8. Dangeresque May 14, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    They must’ve misunderstood our cries for government “transparency”.

    Also, the city hall appropriately looks like the head of a subterranean mace that they keep around in case they need to club the populace to death.

  9. jayrome May 17, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    I remember an old saying that some architects say: if you cover it with vines or “Boston Ivy” it will become somewhat pleasing? Something to that effect!
    Planting Hearty Timber Bamboo would help soften the interior and take advantage of the height too.
    Being a plant person, I’d let nature encapsulate the structure sort of like a ruins garden feature. Good contrast to the Brute City Hall-Detention Center-Fortress.

  10. kevinb June 1, 2015 at 7:23 am #

    I am guessing “security” was more important than any other design issue so the solution was a see through glass box.

  11. davidreese2 June 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    To the extent that this structure hides the reviled City Hall behind it (at least from this vantage point), the structure is a plus.

  12. WoozyCanary August 24, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    I wonder what the air-conditioning bill is going to be in that thing?

    And, in case you thought things couldn’t get worse:

    MBTA: Green Line Somerville Extension Faces $1B Overrun; Gov’t Center Glass Needs To Be Replaced

    [[ …Some or all of the glass for the new Government Center headhouse in Boston is defective and needs to be replaced, the MBTA’s General Manager said Monday.

    “Fairly soon people will start to see the glass that’s been up for several months now removed, and the area covered with tarps to protect the interior from the weather as the glass is sent back to California to be remanufactured and reshipped out and reinstalled,” said MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola.

    During his comments to the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, DePaola said there is an issue of workmanship in the glass and glazing of the structure now rising out of Government Center Plaza. According to DePaola, seals between panes of glass have failed, allowing moisture to get between them and causing fogginess to appear inside the windows.… ]]

    (excerpt)

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