Boston – “The ancients built Valdrada on the shores of a lake, with houses all verandas one above the other, and high streets whose railed parapets look out over the water. Thus the traveler, arriving, sees two cities: one erect above the lake, and the other reflected, upside down. Nothing exists or happens in the one Valdrada that the other Valdrada does not repeat, because the city was so constructed that its every point would be reflected in its mirror, and the Valdrada down in the water contains not only all the flutings and juttings of the facades that rise above the lake, but also the rooms’ interiors with ceilings and floors, the perspective of the halls, the mirrors of the wardrobes […]”. (I. Calvino) [Read more…] about When invisible cities become real
Chicago – I traveled to Chicago this week to attend a workshop put on by the American Planning Association called “Planning for Flood Resilient Communities.” I had never been to Chicago, so I was very excited to explore the city. I spent the day before the conference exploring without a real agenda (except to go on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s boat tour), and what I found was a fantastic example of what makes public spaces work, and what makes them fail. [Read more…] about Chicago’s Crown Fountain vs. Buckingham Fountain
Boston – Downtown Crossing has been in the news a lot lately. The Filene’s building recently got a developer, in the past few years the Paramount and Modern theaters and the Boston Opera House have been rehabilitated, Scholars American Bistro and Cocktail Lounge opened a few months ago, and the vacant Modernist building that used to contain Borders Bookstore has an opportunity to do something great for the neighborhood depending on its next tenant.
Boston – “… There seems to be a public image of any given city, which is the overlap of many individual images. Or perhaps there is a series of public images, each held by some significant number of citizens…
… What does the city’s form actually mean to people who live there?!”
(Kevin Lynch – The Image of City)
Everything we see everyday in our lives is concerned with geometry itself. [Read more…] about It’s all about geometry
Boston – The open house held at the Hayden building on Monday, June 4 signaled the beginning of a new chapter in the building’s eccentric history. Renowned architect HH Richardson designed the building in 1875. However the Hayden fell into neglect as Boston’s red light district nick named “the Combat Zone” developed around it. In 1985 a fire damaged its upper floors. In 1993 Historic Boston Incorporated in a similar state of disrepair. [Read more…] about New Life for H.H. Richardson’s Hayden Building
Boston – When sustainable-living ideas, urban gardening, bike sharing, community-supported agriculture and bike-powered machines gather together the result is the creation of a pattern that can be defined as “off the grid” in the sense that it does not respect the regular strict grid that usually a city, with its own pattern, imposes. [Read more…] about Let’s all Common Build!
Boston – The 42nd annual Boston LGBT Pride Celebration began with a rally on Boston’s City Hall Plaza June 1st , as described on Boston.com. The Plaza was a logical choice of venue for this rally; many other organizations have used it for similar events. Still, each time crowds gather on City Hall Plaza for these special occasions, those of us who are mindful of urban design considerations can be easily (and sadly) reminded of just how rare crowds on the Plaza really are. [Read more…] about Another Event on Boston’s City Hall Plaza, Another Reminder of How Crummy the Plaza Now Looks. Here Is One Way to Do Better.
Boston – Public presentations from development groups hoping to build on downtown Boston’s “Parcel 9” took place during the week ending May 4th, according to Boston.com. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which owns Parcel 9, shall now make a decision as to which project shall receive approval to go forward. Parcel 9 is one of many special plots of land that were formerly occupied by highway and are now open spaces thanks to the Big Dig. [Read more…] about The Boston Museum Would Be a Great Idea, Assuming Someone Can Pay for It
Massachusetts – Cape Wind Associates, the developer of the Cape Wind project, announced in a press release on April 11th, 2012, that it had finally awarded a construction contract for the 2.5 billion dollar wind farm project in Nantucket Sound. This should be welcome news for the majority of Massachusetts residents who support the Cape Wind project. However, overall signs of progress such as these have been quite rare during the wind farm’s pre-construction development, a process which has now gone on for more than a decade. One primary reason why Cape Wind has yet to break ‘ground’ is [Read more…] about Wind Turbine Opposition May Run Deep
The BRA last month approved the design for a 197 unit housing project at 411 D Street, which has been lauded as a renewed concept of design excellence to the Seaport Innovation District.
During the time this project was approved, I had the pleasure of being one of two scholars at the AIA Committee on Design Spring Conference hosted in Columbus, IN, with a goal of identifying what defined architectural design excellence. As I have begun to analyze this theme upon returning to Boston, I find myself obsessing over a question from one of the conference speakers, Ed Feiner. [Read more…] about Innovation District?