Concrete Architecture and the New Boston
Monacelli Press, 9781580934244, 336pp.
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Often problematically labeled as "Brutalist" architecture, the concrete buildings that transformed Boston during 1960s and 1970s were conceived with progressive-minded intentions by some of the world's most influential designers, including Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, I. M. Pei, Henry Cobb, Araldo Cossutta, Gerhard Kallmann and Michael McKinnell, Paul Rudolph, Josep Lluis Sert, and The Architects Collaborative. As a worldwide phenomenon, building with concrete represents one of the major architectural movements of the postwar years, but in Boston it was deployed in more numerous and diverse civic, cultural, and academic projects than in any other major U.S. city. After decades of stagnation and corrupt leadership, public investment in Boston in the 1960s catalyzed enormous growth, resulting in a generation of bold buildings that shared a vocabulary of concrete modernism. The period from the 1960 arrival of Edward J. Logue as the powerful and often controversial director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority to the reopening of Quincy Market in 1976 saw Boston as an urban laboratory for the exploration of concrete's structural and sculptural qualities. What emerged was a vision for the city's widespread revitalization often referred to as the "New Boston." Today, when concrete buildings across the nation are in danger of insensitive renovation or demolition, Heroic presents the concrete structures that defined Boston during this remarkable period--from the well-known (Boston City Hall, New England Aquarium, and cornerstones of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University) to the already lost (Mary Otis Stevens and Thomas F. McNulty's concrete Lincoln House and Studio; Sert, Jackson & Associates' Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School)--with hundreds of images; essays by architectural historians Joan Ockman, Lizabeth Cohen, Keith N. Morgan, and Douglass Shand-Tucci; and interviews with a number of the architects themselves. The product of 8 years of research and advocacy, Heroic surveys the intentions and aspirations of this period and considers anew its legacies--both troubled and inspired.
About the Author
Mark Pasnik, Michael Kubo, and Chris Grimley are codirectors of pinkcomma gallery and collaborators in the design firm over, under. Mark Pasnik is an associate professor of architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology and has taught previously at the California College of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University, and Rhode Island School of Design. Michael Kubo is a Ph.D. candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture at MIT, a founding partner of the design practice Collective-LOK, and was associate curator for OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion at the 2014 International Architecture Biennale in Venice. Chris Grimley is an adjunct professor at Northeastern University and has taught previously at the University of British Columbia, Rhode Island School of Design, and Wentworth Institute of Technology. The Heroic Project was launched in 2009 with an exhibition at pinkcomma gallery and has appeared at the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Modern Module (2010) and the Art Institute of Chicago (2015). Previous articles have been published in Architect, Celeste, CLOG, and Harvard Design Magazine.