Heroism & Hubris
Monday, September 24
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
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 Lluís Sert, and The Architects Collaborative. Concrete was deployed in the widespread creation of civic, cultural, and academic projects. After decades of stagnation and corrupt political 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 spans from the 1960 arrival of Edward J. Logue as the powerful and controversial director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority to the reopening of Quincy Market in 1976. What emerged was a vision for the city’s widespread revitalization referred to as the “New Boston.” The book Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston surveys the intentions and aspirations of this period and considers anew its legacies—both troubled and inspired.
Authors Chris Grimley and Mark Pasnik will share findings from their decade-long study of these concrete buildings and their relationship to urban renewal. They will address ongoing advocacy challenges and professional conservation work, in particular with Boston City Hall.