Concrete Architecture and the New Boston
key primer to the broad range of ground-breaking concrete architecture—inclusive of, but well beyond, brutalism—as it developed in its most accommodating city, Boston, and an important contribution to the efforts to preserve the built legacy of this era.
As a worldwide phenomenon, building with concrete was one of the major architectural movements of the postwar years, but in Boston it was deployed in more civic, cultural, and academic projects than in any other major city. From the founding of the Boston Redevelopment Authority in 1957 to the reopening of Quincy Market in 1976, concrete was used by some of the world’s most influential architects in the transformation of Boston—creating what was eventually referred to as the “New Boston.” Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston presents the concrete structures that defined Boston during this remarkable period, showing the city as a laboratory for brutalism as well as more refined experiments in concrete structure.
Concrete provided an important set of architectural opportunities and challenges for the design community, which fully explored the material’s structural and sculptural qualities. Boston was at the forefront of architectural thinking, embracing this new material in a mission to expand and transform the city. With the vast amount and high quality of concrete architecture produced during the heroic era of modernity, Boston has become as significantly a concrete city as it is one of stone and brick. The essays and images presented here invite us to understand that fact—and to value a city enriched by a layered and complex evolution.