Boston City Hall Plaza is a void of urban vigor. This lack of public social interaction is not due to the vastness of the space or to its aesthetic qualities. The problem is a result of a space largely without program. The plaza does not interact programmatically with the buildings that define it. City Hall Plaza is mostly composed of edge conditions designed to keep people out. The original BRA Urban Renewal Plan identifies a crucial element for the success of City Hall Plaza. It states that ‘the buildings around it should programmatically and spatially engage the plaza,’ yet the resulting design does not meet the requirements. Was there a lack of communication between the planners and the designers, or was it a lack of understanding of how internal building functions generate public activity?
Boston Commons Columbarium proposal | Collaboration with Aspinwall Partners
Boston Commons, Boston, MA
Boston Parks and Recreation Department
An existing masonry comfort station is restored to its noble presence and converted into a columbarium on the Boston Common. Outside, its massive stone walls symbolize permanence while its entry, upper windows and glass roof glow with light. Inside, an internal contemplation void surrounded by glass niches offers a place of rest and reflection. The niches are suspended in the space over a gravel perimeter and washed with a filtered light from above and behind.
Every once-in-awhile we have the opportunity to break away from the norm and work on something besides buildings. For this pro-bono project, we provided graphic design services for the Dennis Family Benefit in Chicago who was a dear friend of partner Aaron Malnarick and committed CUBE supporter.
We’re developing a few branding sketches for a brew pub concept. Using beer as a social medium, the logos depict a ‘communal’ and celebratory theme.
As a part of of our ‘Rethinking Preservation’ project for Neutra’s Cyclorama in Gettysburg, we designed a graphic for our ‘Network’ scheme. The graphic has been used nationally by various organizations as rallying tool to gain supporters for the preservation of modern buildings.
cubePLAY has launched! An alternative to the cheesy play-houses that litter America’s backyards, cubePLAY is a series of architectural play structures that foster child creativity through physical and cognitive interaction. These play structures depart from traditional playhouse designs by providing a dynamic framework for imagination.
The structures are constructed from renewable redwood planks that filter light and create a rich spatial interior that allows passage through, over, and under its various levels. A perfect place for playing, napping, and doing homework, cubePLAY exposes children to the value of design through lively hands-on interaction.
CUBE partner Jason Hart discusses the status of preservation and aging modern-era buildings in the Architect’s Newspaper.
Pictured above are two proposals for Midtown Plaza in Rochester, NY. The Plaza was a 1950s planning experiment aimed at propping up downtown retail business that had diminished with the expansion of suburban shopping centers. Thus it’s with some irony that these two proposals each convert the existing office building over the old mall into housing, in some manner suburbanizing the urban in a seeming development trend across the country. A new proposal, yet to be unveiled, is in the works according to rochesterdowntown.com. Midtown Plaza, vacated in 2008, was designed by Victor Gruen. Local historian Dan Palmer believes the building is an integral part of the Rochester skyline and holds great architectural integrity inside and out.
CUBE’s proposal for Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Building featured in Architectural Record’s First Word by Alek Bierig.