Category Archives: Architecture

California Design: 1930-1965

P.E.M.March 29 – July 6, 2014

Today The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) exhibit, California Design: 1930-1965 Living in a Modern Way, opens. The exhibit includes more than 250 mid-century modern design objects that includes furniture, textiles, fashion, classic vehicles and much more.

Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), this exhibition is the first major study of modern California design. PEM’s presentation is the exhibition’s only East Coast venue – on view.

More information here

Government Center Garage Redevelopment

Boston Anyone who has spent any amount of time in Boston will be familiar with the Government Center parking garage shown above, but for those who have moved away or don’t come into Boston often you may not know that Boston-based developer HYM Investment Group LLC intends to raze major portions of the existing 11-story garage to clear the way for six new buildings – transforming the 4.8 acres in the heart of the city.

BostonThe project will radically transform the area, which the developer describes as “an underutilized 1960s-era parking structure” into a transit-oriented, mixed-use development with a new public plaza and pedestrian connector. The proposal includes 771 residential units, 204 new hotel rooms, 1.3 million square feet of office space, 82,500 square feet of retail space and 1,159 parking spaces.

Despite the fact that parking is always an issue and the development will significantly decrease the number of existing parking spaces, I think it is a great idea.  You can track the progress of this project on the BRA website here and you can read more about the development on the project’s website here.

Lovejoy Wharf in Boston

BostonLate last week new renderings of Lovejoy wharf where shared. Lovejoy wharf is located between the North End and Charlestown and it is a highly visible building for anyone coming into Boston on I-93 north of the city so when plans were announced to renovate this eyesore everyone cheered.

Included above is a photograph of Lovejoy wharf before construction started and a rendition of what the wharf will look like when construction is finished in the spring of 2015. The project will transform the decrepit building into a 187,000 square foot headquarters for Converse, residential units, ground floor shops and a new restaurant.  Next to the building a new floating dock and public access to a new visitor’s center will be included.

 

M.I.T. park benches

Not the MIT park benches referred to below

Not the MIT park benches referred to below

MIT-designed park benches can also connect to Net

The Boston Globe reported earlier this week that two simple park benches turned up recently on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.  However, there is nothing all that simple about these seats built at MIT.   These park benches can charge your smartphones, connect to the Internet, and light up after 5 p.m. all thanks to their solar-powered batteries. The designers intend to add sensors to the seats to detect for air pollution and even whether someone nearby is smoking.

The Boston Globe story is here.

Fan Pier in Boston’s Seaport District

Fan Pier Seaport District BostonOnce the dust from the “Big Dig” settled construction in Boston turned to a section adjacent to Downtown and the Waterfront that had been largely left vacant.  The New York Times wrote an article about this new neighborhood called The Seaport and in particular the development on Fan Pier in their 2007 article, From Empty Lots to Bustling Waterfront.  The recession in 2008 slowed development for a couple years, but construction is in full swing and buildings are being built and approved at a rapid rate not normally seen in Boston.

Fan Pier represents 21 acres mostly of waterfront property with views of Boston Harbor and Downtown.  Restaurants, retail stores, condominiums and office space seem to be opening every month.  If you haven’t been down to this part of Boston in a while you may want to check it out.

Today, Boston’s Fan Pier resembles neither photo from above. The picture on the left shows what the pier looked like September  2012.  The photo to the right shows what the pier will look like after the construction finishes in the next couple years.

Reprogramming the City exhibit opens tomorrow

Architecture

“The Cascade” in Hong Kong by Edge Design Institute, 2007; Photo by Scott Burnham

The city of Boston is joined by London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Hong Kong in a global exhibit that looks at ways in which urban infrastructure is being redesigned, repurposed and reimagined.  The exhibit called, Reprogramming the City, opens tomorrow, June 25th and runs through September 29th and will be on display at the BSA – Boston Society of Architects at 290 Congress Street.

Tuesday, June 25th the BSA is hosting an opening reception from 6 to 8 PM.  To attend, email rsvp@architects.org with “Reception 6/25″ in the subject line.

China’s penis building

China Penis BuildingChina officials are not amused that people are referring to the new state building that will be the new headquarters for The People’s Daily (China’s major newspaper run by the ruling Communist Party) as the penis building.

However, what would one expect people to say? This may be the most literal interpretation of the penis I’ve ever seen.  So much for subtlety.   According to the report in – where else? Cosmo – censors in China are now blocking photos of the unfinished skyscraper because it has become the source of so many jokes.

You can read Cosmopolitan’s article here.

Design Museum Boston: Street seats challenge

Design Museum BostonLast September the Design Museum Boston issued a challenge to design an iconic bench or ‘street seat’ that was also socially and environmentally conscious for the Fort Point Channel neighborhood in Boston.

172 entries from 23 countries were submitted.  Models of all designs are currently on display at 1/8th their size at the museum. On Saturday, April 27th the Design Museum Boston will unveil 20 of these innovative bench designs in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood as part of their newest, public exhibit.  The museum encourages the public to vote on their favorite bench and the designer with the most votes will receive the “People’s Choice” award.

Street seat models are on display at the Design Museum Boston at Factory 63 at 63 Melcher Street, Boston – Monday thru Friday 9-5pm / Saturday 10-4pm.

San Francisco Transbay transit station

San Francisco TransbayFast Company has a cool article any architecture enthusiast will love.  The city has shared renderings for new The Transbay, a multi-modal transit hub in the heart of San Francisco, which includes a 5.4 acre rooftop park.  The three city block building will include a bus depot, train tracks and other transit infrastructure below a massive 1,000-foot office tower.

The city is targeting a 2017 opening for the Transbay.  If you’d like to read more, check out the full article, here.

 

Flashback Friday

Flashback FridayThe John Hancock Tower which was designed by I.M. Pei & Partners in the early 1970s transformed Boston’s skyline and is often photographed by tourists and residents alike.  The soaring glass structure literally reflects the Back Bay neighborhood.  When the structure was being built, architects had an issue with the large reflective glass windows popping out and crashing below.  Many of those patched windows in the photo from 1973 are from those falling windows. Pedestrians must’ve cast a weary eye toward the sky when walking by. The more recent photograph is of the same building but from a different angle to afford you a better appreciation for the minimalist design the building is noted for.

Past Flashback Friday Posts

BosGuy home furnishing

BoConcept FurnitureLast week we finally made time to hang the wall unit we purchased from BoConcept earlier this fall.  The Volani wall unit provides me with some much needed storage (something always an issue in a city apartment).  I could not be happier with how it complements the sideboard.

Gus Sparrow Glider

home furnishing

Sparrow Glider

After the home remodeling concluded this summer, furniture I’d had for nearly a decade needed to be updated.  The shopping spree which started in August has made October feel a bit like Christmas.  The pair of Sparrow Gliders ordered two months ago arrived this week.

The Sparrow Glider from Gus is upholstered in what they call cashmere carbon and it nicely complements the Carmichael Loft Sofa (also from Gus) upholstered in totem storm (honestly who names these fabrics).

Much more needs to be done, but the space is finally coming together.

Tuesday’s Trivia

In 1770 a wealthy merchant who would become a famous patriot in the American Revolution purchased this home in Boston’s North End neighborhood.  Can you name this famous man?

75th Anniversary of Golden Gate Bridge

75 years ago today on May 27, 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge which spans 1.7 miles (nearly 3 km) and links San Francisco to Marin County opened.  The bridge is even more beautiful in person, although this photograph from the web does the bridge justice.

Aizhai Suspension Bridge in China

Check out this breathtaking photograph of the world’s highest and longest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge.  It recently opened in central China.

The Aizhai suspension bridge links two tunnels 1,176 meters apart (nearly 3,900′), carrying traffic 355 meters (nearly 1,200′) high.  The bridge is really beautiful. If you are into this sort of thing, you can see more photos by linking here.