ruminations about architecture and design

Thursday, May 1, 2014

creeping into the merry month may

The photo above depicts the recent failure of a section of floor in Boston City Hall. It is being investigated by structural engineers, but according to a Globe article this has happened before in the building. Before I start a long rant on this particular masterpiece of Brutalism, I want to point out that buildings are in a constant state of motion. Since I work primarily in wood I expect anything that is built off my designs to move the most in the first year of service. These movements create cosmetic failures that are fixed with plaster and paint. The failure exhibited in the floor above is slightly more serious but doesn't imply that the building is on the verge of collapse.

What I find  worth commenting on is how the space within City Hall is dismal, dank, and awful. I can imagine Willy Loman sitting on one of those concrete benches, contemplating suicide as he reviews the broken promises in his life. Anyone who argues that the manifest failures of City Hall are the result of value-engineering should be required to present a convincing rendering of the original intent of the designers. The overall character of the building is repression and despair--not things that can be fixed by some nice mood lighting.

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