BU shows off proposed new tower; says it will have stately views from both sides of the Charles

Architect's rendering of new BU building - with birds

Architect's rendering with obligatory birds.

Boston University has filed plans with the BPDA for its proposed 19-story data-sciences building, to house the school's computer sciences and mathematics and statistics departments, along with an interdisciplinary center that combines the two.

The building, which would go up on what is now a parking lot on Commonwealth Avenue at Granby Street, was designed to foster fields of study that now permeate pretty much everything the university now teaches, BU says:

Collectively, the data sciences permeate all aspects of contemporary academic life, as advances within them open doors to progress in many other disciplines. This new, iconic building will provide a centralized location for existing departments to come together in a truly collaborative and innovative structure.

And BU declares the new tower will be a welcome addition to the Boston skyline:

The Charles River Esplanade and Charles River will afford some of the stateliest views of the Project from both banks of the River, with the geometric tower levels rising unobstructed above the brownstones situated along Storrow Drive and Bay State Road. Approximately 70 feet taller than the next highest building in the immediate vicinity, the cantilevers and material changes will create a dynamic form that engages with the skyline, integrating the Project into the existing urban fabric.

Look at that view from the river - and those birds:

Proposed BU tower

The proposed view from Kenmore Square:

Proposed BU tower

The proposed view from the west:

Proposed BU tower

The building is not the first one proposed for Boston with an unusual stacked-boxes look. Last year, the BPDA approved a new complex at and above Back Bay station that includes the same sort of design.

Boston University Data Science Center project notification form (39M PDF).

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Comments

Are all architects high?

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It looks like City Hall and the brick plaza all jumbled up and turned on its side.

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Voting closed 47

Losing at tetris

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But most people don't play Tetris with red IKEA ringhult cabinets.

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Voting closed 15

prophetic architectural design

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Looks like a building constructed of Jenga blocks about to topple over onto unsuspecting debt-ridden students below.

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Voting closed 39

Ikea stock room look

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Like the laminate fronted drawers in the kitchen area.

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Voting closed 18

I like it

I don't love it, but at least it's different. That part of the city has a lot of boring buildings so it wouldn't hurt to get something somewhat unique.

Makes me want to squeeze them into a neat stack.

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Voting closed 71

Not unusual

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Stacked boxes and twisting are the two current tropes in architecture today.

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Voting closed 29

yeah

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cantilevering is the thing. hopefully it will pass
is the back bay station proposal still on?

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Voting closed 11

Everytime

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Every time I see those windows.. its like

Did Grossman's have a sale of those in 1986 ? I mean those are totally 80s..

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Voting closed 15

That design is straight out

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That design is straight out of Monsters Ate My Condo (look it up, it's a mobile game).

I wonder how much the architects have played that game.

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Voting closed 26

Jinga!

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.

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Voting closed 12

Concur

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I'm no architect nor yet in building trades, but it strikes me that this is at the unhappy intersection of aesthetically awful and highly impractical. It seems like it'll be not only a nightmare to build, but it will have constant problems due to leaking. Awful all around.

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Voting closed 9

Monstrosity

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It would be a shame to erect that monstrosity next to all the elegant looking BU buildings on Comm. Ave across Granby Street. Granted, there was a burger King there for manyy ears, but it didn't stick up so many stories into the sky.

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Voting closed 21

next to elegant looking BU

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next to elegant looking BU buildings

This thing will be across the street from Warren Towers, one of the ugliest buildings in the city. It will be an improvement!

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Voting closed 19

Ugly

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Absolutely ugly.

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Voting closed 18

Huh.

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I usually like funky designs, but I'm not sure about this. Seems too big for that area. Not that's it's too tall (tall is good) but it's like one of those inflatable blowing things that says, "Hey loook at meeee!"

(BU grad)

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Voting closed 32

It's a simple problem to fix:

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you just wait a few years until they put up a bunch of other ugly monstrosities around it and voila, it fits right in with the rest of the neighborhood!

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Voting closed 11

Meh.

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Looks like a stack of pizza boxes. I wonder if the building will drip grease on to passersby?

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Voting closed 17

Ugh

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.

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Voting closed 16

I'm not usually one to critique new design

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based on aesthetic merit - especially when the building is replacing a parking lot. But this mess is truly UGLY. Looks like something a four year old would build with LEGOs.

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Voting closed 22

cantilevered

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blocks are one step up from the pure square bullshit we usually get. it's a big step up, but it's just one fucking move.

someone has got to break out of this nonsense and really fucking design something.

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Voting closed 11

Fugly

Clunky. Why can't architects come up with something well-built and practical, yet timeless and elegant? Is that too much to ask?*

*The Fine Print: BU alumna here

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Voting closed 25

I am not a violent person

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but if that thing disgraces our skyline an architect is gonna get punched really hard.

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Voting closed 17

Never satisfied

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People complain that every new building in Boston is either a brick and panel clad “luxury” apartment building or an all glass office tower. Here’s something different and we’re still upset. What do the complainers want it to look like?

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Voting closed 21

"Different" does not equal "good"

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(n/t)

We built buildings in the 19th century that were beautiful, that were balanced, that had rhythm, that harmonized with their surroundings. We can figure out how to do it again without just building old buildings. It just take a change in the value system. And part of the value system that needs to change is that "different" equals "good" and that's enough.

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Voting closed 16

Part of the original master

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Part of the original master plan for BU’s campus was the Alexander Graham Bell Tower. Unfortunately, it was never built. You can see the renderings here:

http://buquad.com/2012/04/30/the-campus-that-could-have-been/

I say we start with that and slowly work on a cohesive building design based on the core 1930s-1940s buildings which are timelessly elegant.

Also, it would provide us with much-needed Batman habitat.

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Voting closed 12

For what it's worth

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The Stata Center will cease being the ugliest building around...

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Voting closed 17

PUG UGLY

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The leaders of BU should ride the MBTA Green Line to Lake Street. They will find many beautiful buildings on the campus of BC.

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Maybe I'm boring

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but I like the architectural style of BU's more recent academic buildings. Then again, I like it when a campus has a palette for look and feel.

Now sure, maybe tough for BU to build a brick facade building that tall... but without the wasted space of cantilevers, they could lose a floor or two without losing any square feet.

Yip, not a fan.

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Love it

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Boston needs more buildings that don't look like all the old buildings.

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Yeah, I kinda like it

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It is funky but not out of place on a campus area.

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Voting closed 12

OMFG

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why is it that BU can only building ugly buildings?

have some pity upon our city!

this is truly hideous, even worse than their law school

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Why the hate?

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I think it's a better design than the ususl dull crap.

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The first pic up top makes it

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The first pic up top makes it look like an oddly-assembled landlocked cruise ship

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Voting closed 9

Totally a rip

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This building is totally a rip of the Leonard Street tower in Manhattan. Otherwise known as the Jenga Building.

IMAGE(https://fm.cnbc.com/applications/cnbc.com/resources/img/editorial/2017/10/27/104803260-Exterior-wide-with-freedom-tower.600x400.jpg)

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Voting closed 14

yeah but

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yeah it looks a little like Jenga, but the Jengay building actually works architecturally and this BU building is just butt ugly

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Voting closed 11

Oh WTF, people...

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I am so tried of seeing the lackadaisical indecision our urban(e) society is riddled with infecting our art and architecture. Math and science should give us something more beautiful than a stack on the kitchen table I can hear my mother screaming at us to get rid of. We're not NYC, we don't want (I hope!) to be NYC; give us something worthy of a Boston university.

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Voting closed 8

Horrendous

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"And BU declares the new tower will be a welcome addition to the Boston skyline"

No....no it won't be. This is possibly the most horrendous looking building that's ever been proposed.

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Voting closed 14

I want whatever drugs those

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I want whatever drugs those architects were taking when they designed this

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Architect?

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Any know who the architect is?

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Voting closed 3