The 1960s in Boston brought rapid change that transformed the city’s urban fabric after decades of stagnation. Vast areas of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods were modernized in an attempt to reinvigorate Boston’s economy and self-confidence. Amid these changes, two major design competitions—for Boston City Hall (awarded in 1962) and what was then the Boston Architectural Center (awarded two years later)—became milestones in reshaping how the city’s future would be conceived.
These two competitions were conceived with lofty aspirations for democracy and pedagogy. Both enabled relatively unknown architects to land prominent commissions, resulting in landmarks of the era’s architectural language of monumental concrete modernism. At a time when our current building boom has often lacked equivalent imagination or civic ambition, these buildings and the process of their making offer instructive lessons in how such visionary ambitions can shape the city’s future.
The BAC portion of this exhibit is in collaboration with students and staff of the Boston Architectural College.