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Thread: Medieval Boston (photos and commentary)

  1. #26
    Cyburbian sisterceleste's avatar
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    Really enjoyed the pictures and comments. I lived in Boston in the early 70s...worked at Mass. General Hospital so I could really see what you were talking about. Thanks.
    You darn tootin', I like fig newtons!

  2. #27
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Hey, Abalrc, It's be great if you produced a PDf out of this threatd's initial post, I'd like to keep it... veyr good
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  3. #28
    Cyburbian chukky's avatar
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    talking of which, there's not been An Ablarc Photothread in ages.... not since the Governer's Island hypothetical if memeory serves.

    Where in the world is Ablarc?

  4. #29
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Where in the world is Ablarc?
    I had been wondering that myself. I speculate he tired of trying to "convert" planners about the mess euclidean zoning has made or he has more than enough real work now to keep himself busy and satisfied. Maybe we'll get to see some of it in the future.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    And yet this building won every prize there was to win at the time. For a decade or two it was the most imitated building in the U.S. Virtually every city or town has one or two watered-down replicas.

    Sic transit gloria mundi.
    Semper Uberae Uberibum
    It was designed by a team from Haavaad, and the "prizes" came from associations/organizations that included, you guessed it, Haavaad alumni. One more example of the old boy network congratulating itself.
    Government Center is a monstrosity and while the concept of "infinite" space might have been the pretentious flavor of the day, the plaza is an enormous amount of wasted, yes wasted, underutilized, and poorly planned space for such a small city like Boston.

  6. #31
         
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    Ugly and Stupid Monstrosity but thats what happens

    I won't debate with those of you whowere born in Boston, as I ahve only lived here now for four years. I can understand the disappointment and resentment towards the city for demolishing amazing historical structures. And as a former BU student I really do empathize with you on the structures that replaced the old neighborhoods. As I was forced to endure the look of the Student Union building and the Law School Building, both of which you can tell were part of a modern builders dream. Of course time has shown that the style is awful, and the design physically has been sub par.
    Regardless, as I grew up just out side of NY, and grew up in a New England town on the coast, I can say that this has and will always occur. As I have viewed hundreds and thousands of pictures, and heard stories from relatives of where and what they grew up around. Therefore it is with great conviction that I say that statement that it must happen, for only cities with growth and wealth opportunities make those decisions. If the neighborhoods and buildings remain the same and growth is stagnant, then there is no need to change the citys layout.
    It is a natural consequence, the only option although sad is to save the buildings with the greatest significance and history.

  7. #32
    Quote Originally posted by jimi_d View post
    Interesting how they claimed vandalism to be "urban renewal". Maybe "urban renewal" should join the words to ban thread. And Government Center really looks like a candidate for ugliest building ever.

    City Hall certainly is a candidate, but without a doubt the ugliest building in the world goes to the Campus Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I can't post a link since this is only my first post, but man, it is an eye sore. People like to joke that you get the best view of campus from that building because you don't have to see it!

    Oh well, once I hit 5 posts, I'll put up a picture of it.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Padraig O'Blivion View post
    Semper Uberae Uberibum
    It was designed by a team from Haavaad, and the "prizes" came from associations/organizations that included, you guessed it, Haavaad alumni. One more example of the old boy network congratulating itself.
    Government Center is a monstrosity and while the concept of "infinite" space might have been the pretentious flavor of the day, the plaza is an enormous amount of wasted, yes wasted, underutilized, and poorly planned space for such a small city like Boston.
    Given the number of concerts and special events held there (including Patriots Super Bowl championship celebrations) I wouldn't conclude that the space is wasted. There aren't many useful gathering place downtown so I think it serves that purpose well. Plus, I like all the stairs because you can get a great view of that section of the city from all angles.

  9. #34

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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    Given the number of concerts and special events held there (including Patriots Super Bowl championship celebrations) I wouldn't conclude that the space is wasted. There aren't many useful gathering place downtown so I think it serves that purpose well. Plus, I like all the stairs because you can get a great view of that section of the city from all angles.

    Wow. This is the first post or paragraph I've read (outside the Fortress of Modern Architectural Theory (tm)) defending the Boston Civic Center. It's cool to see a different opinion. Haven't experienced the place myself, so...

  10. #35
    Member crisp444's avatar
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    It may not be wasted, but it sure is hideous. There are occasional events that happen there, but most of the year, and most hours of the day (outside of morning and afternoon rush hours), the place is a desolate and cold expanse that is like a void in the middle of a vibrant urban district.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by crisp444 View post
    It may not be wasted, but it sure is hideous. There are occasional events that happen there, but most of the year, and most hours of the day (outside of morning and afternoon rush hours), the place is a desolate and cold expanse that is like a void in the middle of a vibrant urban district.
    It is surrounded by major activity centers so I don't think it needs to be a vibrant place. And while it is wide open it is certainly not desolate; there is even a T stop there. It is an unusual place but I don't think this is neccessarily a bad thing. Not every place in the city needs to function in the clockwork urban pattern.

  12. #37
    Cyburbian Reductionist's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    It is surrounded by major activity centers so I don't think it needs to be a vibrant place. And while it is wide open it is certainly not desolate; there is even a T stop there. It is an unusual place but I don't think this is neccessarily a bad thing. Not every place in the city needs to function in the clockwork urban pattern.
    What should be a major center of civic engagement is instead a monument to the hubris of failed modernist planning and architectural theory.

    Fortunately Boston was vibrant enough to survive I.M. Pei's architectural death star, but raze enough of your traditional urbanism to build those "unusual spaces" and you end up with incoherent, cancerous mass like Houston or Atlanta.
    "I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible. I saw this guy do it once in Cirque du Soleil. It was magical!" -Stephen Colbert

  13. #38
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    Hello together,
    can someone tell me, if the Boston pictures from the 1920th are public domain?

    Thanks for your help!

  14. #39
    (for now) Frozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    I don't understand why these buildings are referred to as "medieval". Doesn't that imply the period between the 10th century and the 13th, roughly?
    The term applies less to the actual buildings, and more about the urban form (ie street pattern(s), extensive mixed uses, etc.)
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  15. #40
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Medieval?

    I don't understand why these buildings are referred to as "medieval". Doesn't that imply the period between the 10th century and the 13th, roughly?

  16. #41
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    I don't understand why these buildings are referred to as "medieval". Doesn't that imply the period between the 10th century and the 13th, roughly?
    I believe it applies mainly to the road patterns and the initial scale of development to the area.

  17. #42
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    a very sad story.....

    What;s the current state of those Corbu slabs? Who lives there?

  18. #43
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    does anyone know of any other resource or wibsites with equally good photos of old boston? 1900-1980s?
    thanks!

  19. #44
    Cyburbian
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    COLONIAL, not medieval, Boston.

    arggggggggggggggggghhhhh.

  20. #45
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wideyed View post
    does anyone know of any other resource or wibsites with equally good photos of old boston? 1900-1980s?
    thanks!
    The first place I'd start for historic photos of any city would be the Library of Congress American Memory site at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html . The photos aren't of the same high quality as in this thread; they're high resolution but low contrast.

  21. #46
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    The images in this thread are now hosted in the Cyburbia Gallery. See http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/show...y.php/cat/6518 . It took a while to rebuild this very popular thread, and it's going to suck up a lot of bandwidth in the future, but given that Ablarc has been hosting the images in the past to our benefit, it's our turn to host them now..
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  22. #47
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    fascinating stuff

  23. #48
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Since this got bumped up I looked it over again today. A great set of photos.

    I'd love to see a set of post-Central Artery photos to show before, after, and after-after, all in one place. I did my Masters thesis on the Central Artery project and its an interest of mine. I think we'll find that until the parks are finished and the air rights buildings envisioned are constructed, it will still look half-done. I hope that happens in my lifetime, and I also hope the O'Neill tunnel holds up to the test of time.

  24. #49
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    enjoyable thread

    I'm not sure if "enjoyable" is the right word because urban renewal and my inability to walk through those old streets today is depressing.

    As someone else has said, the amazing thing about boston is that so much has been lost, but so much still remains. Thank god for what remains, and curses to those who tore down the old.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian
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    Nice thread, but medieval? Boston didn't exist in the Middle Ages.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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