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Thread: Cambridge, Massachusetts (photos and commentary)

  1. #1
          ablarc's avatar
    Nov 2003
    East Coast

    Cambridge, Massachusetts (photos and commentary)

    Moderator note:
    (Dan) 11 October 2009: Images now hosted in the Cyburbia Gallery. See http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/show...y.php/cat/6500


    Photo by tocoto.

    Previous two shots are actually of Upper West Side Broadway. Couldn’t resist including them, coz Mass Ave in Cambridge reminds me so much of upper Broadway. NY pics by CzSz (I think).

    Photo by tocoto.

    Photo by tocoto.

    Gropius: Harkness Commons, 1947.

    Stern: Spangler Hall (same program as Harkness Commons), 2002.[/i]

    Venturi: Hauser Hall, 1995.[/i]

    Richardson: Austin Hall, 18 .[/i]

    Just outside Harvard Yard at the opposite end from the Square, Memorial Hall went up after the Civil War to commemorate Harvard’s war dead. Ware and Van Brunt were the architects (with a little help from Ruskin). Looking southwest towards Harvard Square (all Steve Rosenthal photos). Recently, Robert Venturi put the pyramid back on the tower, half a century after it burned off in 1947.

    This is a three-room building. Nave is a freshman dining hall:

    Apse is a concert hall:

    …and transept is lobby, cenotaph and stairwell, packed with pre-Raphaelite stained glass:

    Carved by the finest machines that money could buy:

    City Hall.


    Law School. “Not under man but under God and Law.”

    Sert: Peabody Terrace, 19 .

    Across the River Charles from Boston, Cambridge hosts two premier universities. Its resident population is about 100,000. Students and hangers-on swell this to almost half-again-as-many during the academic year.

    The oldest part is Harvard Square, the y-shaped intersection just to the left of center towards the bottom. Up and to the left of this is Harvard Yard (plenty of trees and a big, blocky library). Green area at right: Harvard Houses, undergrad dorms. City in between. Here Cambridge originated in 1630 as New Towne; Harvard U. in 1636.

    All undergrads pass through Harvard Square daily, back and forth to classes. The big grey concrete battleship just to the square’s right is Holyoke Center, built by H.U. as administration, infirmary, shopping arcade, plaza and street-level retail (J. L. Sert, 1960-66).

    Cambridge is to Boston as Berkeley is to San Francisco. Both are across the water, both can be reached by subway, both are full of liberals and both have a certain ramshackle charm.

    Cambridge, MA...pop. 101,355 6.4 sq. mi. density 15,765/sq. mi.
    Berkeley, CA......pop. 102,743 9.5 sq. mi. density.. 9,823/sq. mi.

    Even with its student population excluded, Cambridge density compares favorably with many cities in which the dominant dwellings are rowhouses. (Cambridge 15,765; Boston 12,165; Philadelphia 11,233; Chicago 12,749; Baltimore 8,058.) Only San Francisco surpasses Cambridge in density, with its 16,633.

    Here this is accomplished almost entirely with detached frame houses. Some of those houses are very large, but almost all are built on tiny lots. Thus Cambridge is still an example of an American town, with detached buildings everywhere except in the fused retail cores (referred to here as “Squares”).

    This town has, however, been absorbed into the metropolis; Harvard Square is 11 minutes by subway to the heart of downtown Boston.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
    Apr 2002
    Ablarc, thanks for the beautiful pictures. I used to live out there and it was nice to see some of the fall color in one of the best places in the Boston area.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Wicked. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    I've been to Cambridge once, for a very limited drive - we got lost trying to go back north to Peabody, MA.

    The H.H. Richardson designed hall is beautiful. I've toured the Glessner house here in Chicago. I love his use of woodwork on th interior and the heavy rusticated stone exteriors.

    Glessner House:

    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

    You know...for kids.

  5. #5
          ablarc's avatar
    Nov 2003
    East Coast
    H. H. Richardson was the opposite of light in every sense. He liked things to be heavy, and he liked things to be dark. The Glessner House is quite a bit of both, and so was Richardson, who resembled his buildings:

    That Glessner arch harks back to the Dark Ages. Have you ever seen Theodoricís Tomb? The dome may be modest in size but itís hewn from a single chunk of granite.

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    Moderator note:
    The images in this thread are now hosted in the Cyburbia Gallery. See http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/show...y.php/cat/6500.

    This thread is 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

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