But I'll give the nod to this reconstruction of Edison's Black Maria . Ever since its construction in 1968, Boston's City Hall has been a source of contention in Beantown. Many people disdained Victorian architecture when it first came on the scene; a critic lambasted Harvard’s late 19th-century Memorial Hall as an out-of-scale abomination. City Hall’s interior has friendly touches, such as the protruding ledges and counters where people can sign documents or place bags. Boston City Hall made #1 on a national travel website’s ugly building list. The Robert A.M. Stern-designed condo opened in 2009, and has rankled residents ever since for its starkly utilitarian appearance. Boston City Hall was ranked as one of the world’s Top 10 ugliest building in 2008 by VitualTourist.com ZIZKOV TV TOWER Zizkov TV Tower (Photo: Jiri Stoklaska) Finally, the top floors are for the bureaucracy getting the people’s work done, in individual offices and conference room arrayed on four sides around a central courtyard. This is not exactly the type of honor one would hope for. “I am glad this building is controversial,” Ted Kennedy told the crowd in his speech at the opening ceremony. Executed along with partners Henry Wood and Ed Knowles; Campbell, Aldrich & Nulty; and LeMessurier Associates, the nine-story structure was set in a large open plaza, as if a sculpture on a pedestal. When it comes to public buildings considered "famously ugly", the instinct might be to demolish and start anew. Sam Hammat/Globe staff/File 1969/Globe Staff, Like a strong cocktail, a building can be an acquired taste. But as one planned refurbishment — an update of the brutalist Boston … From World's Ugliest Building To Brutalist Masterpiece The construction of the Boston City Hall as seen from Scollay Square. But City Hall is a delightful little confectionary compared to this truly brutal, depressing series of concrete fists smashing the spirit of onlookers into a thin pulp. Now that Mayor Walsh has adopted a policy of mend-it-don’t-end-it — or, in HGTV parlance, love it, not list it — the place may finally move on from being the familiar object of ridicule. There is something haunting, too, about the fact that the entire area was made possible by bulldozing nearly all of a once-thriving neighborhood. The citizenry was supposed to permeate the building from many directions, go to teller windows to get a marriage license or pay a parking ticket, and move on. Mid-20th-century urban renewal architecture is broadly associated with Brutalism, and Boston City Hall is among the finest examples of the genre. First things first. Curbed Boston included City Hall on its 2018 list of Boston's "10 ugliest buildings." Couvent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette, near Lyon, is almost a mirror image, with repeated small rooms for monks up top, and gathering spaces and a cavernous but light-filled sanctuary below. With the big break of modern architecture, those clues were not so obvious. New York has a few more hard-to-love towers. While praised by critics — a 1976 survey of architects and historians named it the sixth-best building in America, right after Monticello — Boston City Hall was soon enough enveloped by grousing from everyone else. I’m not sure another skating rink or the planting of a hundred trees is the right answer for City Hall Plaza, and I withhold judgment on the sleek new proposed “community engagement” center as an appendage. The Government Service Center got a makeover. Condemned as a fortress and eyesore — dissing it is almost a rite of passage around here, like complaining about the T, or move-in day for college students — it is also the center of our civic attention, in ways that were utterly anticipated five decades ago. But its lighting is poor. ... One publication called North Carolina's Duke Energy Center the ugliest building in downtown Charlotte. Its tall gray wall holds the offices of Boston’s mayor and city council. “Historically, you understood a church, a palace, or a castle. Arkansas — The John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building in Fayetteville. Outside, cars and trucks were parked on City Hall Plaza, amid stretches of chain-link fencing, supposedly temporary, but which remained year after year. “The scale is like that of civic and religious buildings of all eras: designed to impress with the power of institution, but fully recognizing and taking responsibility for the intimacy of individual human experience.”, One of the features that struck Williams was the design of the service area in the half-level down from the main entrance, a critical interaction of citizen and government. The young might not like it as much as the Old State House, but they would recognize [that it’s] prominent, large, and monumental, and presents itself as something important, which a city hall should.”. As. The home of the World Series champion Red Sox opened in early 1912, and that makes it the oldest ballpark in all of Major League Baseball. Boston, Massachusetts. It's another product of its time. What’d you think? Verizon Building. For second ugliest, they’re split between the Government Center Parking Garage and the twin white towers known as Symphony Plaza East and West, which stand at … Some features were left unfinished, including a planned beer hall, courtyard enhancements, and multiple egresses. Those cubbies and ledges remain, but another reason City Hall is underappreciated can be traced to what happened after it opened in 1969. Boston City Hall has never managed to shake its reputation as an architectural disaster — until now. “Next to each teller window there’s a generous projecting surface perfectly placed to be used to spread out or sign papers, rummage in a briefcase, or seat a tired child,” she says. A 2016 Boston Globe essay about "Boston flops, flubs, and failures" said City Hall was "cracking internally like a dead molar waiting to be pulled. But the quest for better programming in the building’s expansive front yard has met with success, whether it’s with a circus, mini-golf, farmers market, or stalls for. Phil Preston/Globe staff/File 1969/Globe Staff. in the world! But it’s not for everyone. That didn’t happen with City Hall. Grand Central station, another monumental public building that some politicians once wanted to destroy, now stands as an anchor in Midtown Manhattan, surrounded by new development. “This building has been there for 50 years. It is the Government Center Garage, which looms above Haymarket Square, turns a block of Congress Street into a dismal tunnel, and cuts off the Bulfinch Triangle from the rest of the city. Passing taxi drivers thought it looked like some kind of giant harmonica; it was imposing and unwelcoming, and appeared oddly upside down. His successor, Mayor Martin J. 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