Nov 242016
 

hunger_final
Hunger

A reminder. Taken on Thanksgiving morning eight years ago. Gave this guy a couple bucks on my way to Starbucks as my holiday day was getting underway. Took this photo from across the street on the way back.

Have a happy, safe holiday. Be thankful for all you have.

 

Nov 222016
 

The Whole Point (Edward Brooke Courthouse)
The Whole Point (Edward Brooke Courthouse)

I spent a sunny Sunday photographing the Government Service Center and a couple of nearby buildings in Boston’s Government Center area. I previously posted photos from this session featuring Paul Rudolph’s Brutalist masterpiece, the Government Service Center. This post features shots of the surrounding area.

Boston City Hall, designed by architects Gerhard Kallmann and Michael McKinnell, is one of the best known examples of Brutalist architecture in the United States. Completed in 1968, the new City Hall replaced old City Hall, “one of the first buildings in the French Second Empire Style to be built-in the United States and now one of the few that survive” (which I featured in a recent post).


City Hall Shadows

And here are a few shots of the area around the Government Service Center, including the adjacent Edward Brooke Courthouse, designed in the late 1990s by the same firm that designed Boston City Hall more than thirty years earlier (now Kallmann, McKinnell & Wood).

walk up out of the shadows
walk up out of the shadows

Hurley Walkway and Courtyard

Staniford Twilight

The full set may be seen here, on Flickr.

Nov 192016
 

almost pueblo-like in the sun
almost pueblo-like in the sun

I spent a sunny Sunday photographing the Government Service Center and a couple of surrounding buildings in Boston’s Government Center area.  This post focuses on the Government Service Center. In part II, I’ll post some shots of the surrounding area.

Architect Paul Rudolph’s Government Service Center consists of two separate, but connected buildings: the Hurley Building and the Lindemann Mental Health Center. It’s the most misunderstood building in Boston. Many consider it (wrongly, IMHO) to be the ugliest building in Boston.

One of Rudolph’s masterpieces, Boston’s Government Services Center, with its distinctive “corduroy concrete,” ranks high among the best examples of Brutalist architecture in the United States (even eclipsing Boston City Hall). Designed and constructed a couple years after Rudolph’s Yale Art and Architecture Building tour de force, the Hurley/Lindemann building was never completed according to Rudolph’s original design and vision. Construction of this high rise portion was never realized.

Hurley Silhouette
Hurley Silhouette

Lindemann from the plaza
Lindemann from the Plaza

Unfortunately, the Government Service Center has suffered from years of neglect. The northern corner of the building has long been fronted by a hideous chain-link fence enclosing a make shift parking lot in place of the landscaped park in the original design. Within the past five years, many external stairways and other means of access to terraces and other intriguing spaces have been blocked, closed off by (more, ugly) chain-link fences. This wikipedia photo gives you a glimpse of one such unique area, as does this Droid Hot Spot commercial from 6 years ago, posted below. I’ve kicked myself for years not photographing Rudolph’s Government Service Center when access to all the external spaces and stairways was still open (and when deterioration of the buildings was a bit less pronounced).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/djmatt/31096005805/in/album-72157672767799713/"
Hurley Stairs and Columns

The FrogRudolph's Lindemann Facade
Rudolph’s Frog and the Lindemann Facade

Lindermann Mental Health Center StairsLindemann connects to Hurley

Lindemann Mental Health Center Stairs and the Lindemann Building Connects to Hurley

I’ve been defending Brutalist architecture for years, and attempting to convince fellow Bostonians of the importance and charms of Rudolph’s Government Services Center (typically to no avail). But, Brutalism is back, baby! Well, sorta. See this recent New York Times “Brutalism is Back” article, including:

Brutalism is undergoing something of a revival. Despite two generations of abuse (and perhaps a little because of it), an enthusiasm for Brutalist buildings beyond the febrile, narrow precincts of architecture criticism has begun to take hold. Preservationists clamor for their survival, historians laud their ethical origins and an independent public has found beauty in their rawness.

And a couple of years ago, the Boston Globe published this piece, The dream behind Boston’s forbidding Government Service Center including:

In recent years, appreciation for Rudolph’s work has rebounded, especially among young architects. His Yale building, after a fumbled reconstruction and decades of neglect, was magnificently restored in 2009. But his Government Service Center is now only a shadow of what he envisioned. The complex was conceived as a moving, celebratory place, but mistreatment has made it resemble a prison. Yards of wire fencing overzealously fence off walkway walls now deemed too low to protect pedestrians. Parked vehicles have eroded the surface of the beautiful plaza at Staniford and Merrimac.

See also this recent Guardian article Save Our Brutalist Masterpieces.

Hurley angle
Hurley Angle


Looking through Lindemann to Saltonstall and Ashburton

The full set may be seen here, on Flickr. More photos of the Government Service Center may be seen here in this Flickr set by Kelviin, who also administers the Art and Architecture of Paul Rudolph group on Flickr.

 

Nov 092016
 

Old City Hall
Old City Hall at Late Twilight

A few (hand-held) late twilight and night shots from my soon to be retired Olympus Pen E-P3 (in favor of a just purchased Pen F). A walk home through Downtown Boston and Back Bay, stopping by Old City Hall,”one of the first buildings in the French Second Empire Style to be built-in the United States and now one of the few that survive.” Among the several statues in the courtyard is one of Ben Franklin, pictured in the photo below. It was the first portrait statue in Boston. In May, high winds toppled the statue off its pedestal, but, luckily, Ben escaped the ordeal without damage (although the same could not be said for the sidewalk below).

Ben and the printing press monument in front of Old City HallBen Franklin statue and printing press monument in front of Old City Hall

Boston’s Architectural Heritage Foundation just announced that they are putting their lease on Old City Hall on the market. Although sale of the lease, which the AHF has held since Old City Hall was renovated following construction and opening of new City Hall in 1968, would need approval by the City of Boston’s Planning and Development Agency, AHF “plans to use the proceeds to finish improvements to the building’s courtyard and create a new loan fund for historic preservation.”

I also took a few night shots of the urban park on Saint James Street in the Back Bay with the lighted waterfall sculpture and Japanese paper flowers and fish art in the trees.

Japanese paper flowers and fish in the urban park on Saint James
Japanese paper flowers and fish in the urban park on Saint James

Lighted Waterfall Sculpture
Lighted Waterfall Sculpture

Japanese paper art on Saint James Street
Japanese paper art on Saint James Street