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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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I am fearful for the fate of Boston's City Hall. The mayor has proposed selling it off and leaving it to a developer to do what he will with it. It is a brutalist monster--very much out-of-fashion now. It doesn't work, it's ugly, it's "uninviting" and unpleasant to work in. But I truly think that a day will come in the next 40 years that people will re-define the building and come to love it. I think many of the things that make it so hated are ill-conceived additions and junk strewn about to make the place "homier". That's not what brutalism is about. You have to go with it completely for it to work. You cannot "renovate" this building. It is the way it is. In the building's scale and conception, humans are pesky and beside the point. Why not preserve something so other worldly and poetic?

Think of Philadelphia's City Hall. Hated upon completion, grossly out-of-style almost immediately. The only only thing that saved it was its gargantuan size. Now everyone loves it.

Maybe Boston's monster will be saved by the same inertia and cost of destruction? Hopefully there will be those willing to defend a building much lauded in its day.

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