Is this what ‘innovation’ looks like?
CityLab - 12/12/2014
The Innovation District has all the charm of an office park in a suburb of Dallas,” the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer-winning architecture critic, Robert Campbell, wrote last month, in a scathing front page review of the district’s boxy new buildings. While the area’s architectural merits might be up for debate, the coldness that Campbell wrote of also speaks to the difficulty of building an urban neighborhood from scratch.
His review noted one bright spot, however: District Hall, a single-story, 12,000-square-foot building with big windows and a funky slanted roof. In the words of its 27-year-old general manager, Nicole Fichera, it is meant to serve as the Innovation District’s “living room.”
District Hall began with Menino (who died in October) calling for an “innovation center,” a nebulous concept that a design team working for Boston Global Investors, developers of 23 acres of the new district, was forced to figure out on its own. Fichera, who trained as an architect and has been involved with the Innovation District since she was a co-op student at Northeastern University, was in those early meetings.