Boston City Hall: World’s #1 Ugliest Building?
We recently stumbled across this article on Yahoo! identifying Boston’s City Hall as the world’s ugliest building. Now, if you’ve ever been to Government Center then you know this behemoth of a Brutalist building is anything but easy on the eyes but does that mean its unsalvageable? Our own mayor called for its abandonment but Architecture Boston magazine had a better idea — ask the brightest young minds in architecture how they would save it…
Originally built in 1962 by a team of architects who won a competition to build Boston’s City Hall, the building was a strong statement during a very different time in architecture aptly named the Brutalist period. Now the massive concrete edifice is facing abandonment as ideas are floated to build a new building on Boston’s waterfront, close to the ICA.
New construction is a fine idea except when you have a perfectly usable building already. Architecture Boston invited 6 young architecture firms (pdf) to address the identified “sins of City Hall” — Too Opaque, Too Big, Too Mute, Too Ugly, Too Dark, Too Empty, Too Costly, Too Aloof — and focus on “repairing and fixing” the building through interventions to rebrand its relationship with the public as well as its functionality and sustainability.
This idea of adaptive reuse is too often overlooked. If you can identify what is wrong with a building, you can probably figure out a way to fix it and have a real, lasting affect on the people who live with it. Ugly or not, Boston’s brutal City Hall is a part of the city’s architectural history — can’t we find a way to bring it into the 21st Century?
More on the creative ideas for making City Hall new again, here. (pdf)
To see this once celebrated building from an appreciative eye, check out this amazing photostream.
Top photo from johnpettit’s photostream on Flickr