Saturday, July 24, 2010

Boston City Hall and Ted Landsmark

Recently voted the ugliest building in the world on

Is it really though?

I think it was prescient... in that it looks like a digital graphic glitch that was probably impossible at the time of its design. Not a bad thing to look like IMO.

From Great Buildings:

"The massing of the Boston City Hall extends a time-honored tripartite arrangement of base, body and attic, evoking rootedness to the earth and pyramidal ascent toward the sky. But the City Hall's three-storied attic is the largest mass, while the body is the most perforated. Stoic and ordered in traditional buildings, the body here is exuberant and agitated, more expressive of unique interior domains than of systemic organization. By contrast, the more typically articulated attic is highly repetitive and ordered. From some vantage points, the attic seems not only the largest of parts, but also the heaviest, poised to crush the lesser mass of the body that supports it. From other vantage points, it appears mysteriously weightless, a horizontal monolith hovering above the cornices of nineteenth-century Boston."?

From the creators' words:

"We distrust and have reacted against an architecture that is absolute, uninvolved and abstract. We have moved towards an architecture that is specific and concrete, involving itself with the social and geographic context, the program, and methods of construction, in order to produce a building that exists strongly and irrevocably, rather than an uncommitted abstract structure that could be any place and, therefore, like modern man— without identity or presence."

From Yelp reviews:

"This place is so ugly. It's like 10 different left-handed dyslexic architects separately designed buildings then a strong breeze mixed up their papers and drawings and we were left with this. I am left-handed so no offense to left-handers. We are generally an awesome people."

Disturbingly, it was the site of this crime in 1976:

The attacker was protesting the then-new busing program.
The man being attacked is Ted Landsmark, an architectural lawyer who was on his way to a case.
He now is the president of the Boston Architectural College (among other things), and incidentally, has recently written an article calling for an end to the Boston busing program.

Long article about Ted Landsmark and the city hall attack

Ted Landsmark speaks to the press after the attack, 1976

Ted Landsmark on the lack of diversity in architecture, 2004

1 comment:

  1. When you asked for people to tell you their most and least favorite buildings, I was stuck for a building I really hated. I felt like there must be some, but the funny thing about buildings is just this: you can't hate them if they don't have some personality, and if they have personality, then you can find a way to love them.