Keller @ Large: Boston City Hall Is Not Beautiful

BOSTON (CBS) – You know what it means to get trolled online, don’t you?

My dictionary says it’s someone who “makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them,” and that is exactly what the gang at curbed.com, a website about architecture, have done.

In their list of the ten most beautiful city halls in the country, they identify some beauties – Philadelphia, Milwaukee, L.A. They missed Providence City Hall, an all-time classic.

But the trolling began when they cited – appallingly – Boston City Hall, that hideous load of concrete that was dumped in Scollay Square fifty years ago and has squatted there, like an oil spill on your front lawn, ever since.

But according to Curbed, “we appreciate [it] for its bold Brutalist charm. It takes guts to design a city hall like no other—a blocky, geometric design that while imposing, is also heroic…the architectural style captured a moment in time.”

boston city hall2 Keller @ Large: Boston City Hall Is Not Beautiful

(Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)

As a frequent visitor to Boston City Hall during its lifetime, I feel qualified to point out there is no charm to be found there, Brutalist or otherwise.

I’m sure visitors may have spilled chowder and bits of their chicken parm in the hallways, and if somehow the spills merged then, yes, there was charm formed. But otherwise, no way.

City Hall is also not heroic.

Heroic acts do occur there – of survival by horrified workers and confused visitors. But the building itself is a coward, a bad trend, a “moment in time” the way seasickness is.

You trolled me, Curbed.com.

And now I just trolled you.

More from Jon Keller
Comments

One Comment

  1. You are right, City Hall is a symbol of a bad period in time.

    However, with bad periods of time, like seasickness, there are things you can do to speed its on its way…get out in the fresh air, look at the horizon (highly recommended), and eat…yes, eat.

    With City Hall, unfortunately, there is little that we can do with it except complain.

    They could get it broken up with ivy or hanging nasturtiums, or plant a tree or shrub or a hundred. They could even paint the building in camouflage try to fool us into believing that it is like the old statehouse.

    But they don’t. And that’s a problem.

    If apologize in advance to anyone who is offended by this statement. I promise that I won’t show a picture of the decapitated top of the building, as appropriate as that form of “art” might be.

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