Boston City Hall – Boston Picture

Boston City Hall

It doesn’t look any better in the sun. Voted the world’s ugliest building in 2008. Best described as the Lincoln Memorial, upside down, on pillars. Best seen with grey skies and fog as it fades from view.

Brutalism was a 1960s- 1970s fad within Modern architecture not unlike the fad of tail fins in auto styling. As the low, subtle fins of a Mercedes are stylish, some Brutalist buildings are eye pleasing shapes, masses that please the eye and invite the visitor to approach. Like the massive fins of a Virgil Exner Chrysler, this garish building calls attention to it’s surface, as it has no substance. It’s a sagging box on stilts. As for the visitor, the entrance is…um, it’s, well… head to the right. When you come to the brick stairs it’s a sharp left up and you find the entrance is on the other side of where you began. Simple. And isn’t simplicity a key element of Modernism?

For my two cents worth, we should build a new, non-prize winning city hall on the 8 acres in front. I’ll risk a bland building that says "Boston works" over a rapidly outmoded statement about someone’s *vision* of the future. Then pull down the old carbuncle, excavate to put an underground car park facing Congress St and either: a) put up new buildings above; or if you want to keep a plaza b) build a terrace over the parking. We could even put balconies on the back of the new city hall, so Boston’s championship team could address the crowds.

Image published by oliva732000 on 2012-01-22 03:48:34 and used under Creative Commons license.

Tagged: , city , hall , modern , brutalism , barren , plaza , criticism , ugly , failure , review , opinion , renewal , planning , redevelopment , 1969 , sixties , downtown , Boston , urban , architecture , buildings , cold , windy , winter , quiet , afternoon , shade , shadow , Massachusetts , Mass , MA

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