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Boston Architectural Photos

  • 28 Roslin Street
    Photos of Boston buildings and neighborhoods. Click any photo to enlarge.

First Parish Church in Dorchester Steeple Removal

  • Airborne1
    Photos of the removal of the steeple lantern at First Parish Church in Dorchester, 24 November 2006

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todd

A question: What protections does being granted landmark status give to the structure? That is, if it's granted, can the building be torn down? If granted, will we be forever saddled with an ugly building and an enormous plaza that can't be used for anything?

Richard Graf

City Hall is a dramatic building in a dramatic setting. The "useless" plaza is the only paved gathering space in the city able to hold a really large crowd. It also is home to many temporary structures, tents, shows, etc. You can reach it by the subway without a transfer from every corner of the city.
City Hall is beautifully located on its plaza. It was designed to pull the plaza space into the lobby, symbolically opening itself to the people of the city.
Both the plaza and the city hall have design flaws, but they are minor compared to the benefits which this design brought to Boston.
The last effort to fix the flaws of the plaza focussed entirely on real estate development. As a developer, I am all for real estate development, but the City is the City, and developers are developers. The City does not need to develop every corner of its property. The federal government, which shares the plaza, correctly objected to transferring this space to private use.
The building itself suffers from an admittedly poor main lobby design, and also from horrible lighting of the main lobby. It is time to correct the flaws in the intial design, to carefully clean the concrete, both interior and exterior, and to correct the poor lighing design. There is no reason for the space to be dim and dirty. Building a new city hall won't fix the fact that the city is a "low-rent" steward of its own structures.
But to sell off the plaza and move to a "three-transfer" spot at the edge of town - that is going backwards, wasting alot of money, and demeaning the brilliance of the people who did not give up on Boston when the going was tough.
Richard Graf

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