The Photos: All credited to Russ Preston.
|Photo 1: Looking east, with Legal Harborside 1 to the right.|
|Photo 2: Looking around the corner of the western building into the harbor.|
|Photo 3: Legal Harborside from across Northern Avenue.|
|Photo 4: Detail of the second floor, street side on the western building.|
|Photo 5: Up close on the streetscape.|
|Photo 6: One of the few new buildings in the area not clad in pre-cast concrete panels.|
|Photo 6: Looking between the buildings.|
|Photo 7: Looking west along the water, back toward downtown Boston.|
Year of Urban Fabric Restoration: 2010.
The Story: In this case, less is actually more. This location was formerly Jimmy's Harborside. Having never eaten at Jimmy's I can't comment on the food. But there is no question that its demise laid the groundwork for an urban design upgrade of the first order. Compare the pictures above to this:
Certainly iconic. Well known as a Boston tradition. Yet distinctly lacking as it met the street. In its last iteration, the Jimmy's building was a single continuous frontage that gave you almost no sense that Boston Harbor was, you know, just behind it. The new design, from Elkus Manfredi, breaks open the site into 3 structures, wraps the Harborwalk around the water side and lets even those walking by on the street side know that the waterfront is really there. I confess that I hadn't really thought to go check out the location until Brian McGrory wrote a typically worthwhile column in the Boston Globe a week ago on what a success it's turning out to be: "Waterfront hits its stride." With such an endorsement, I made a mental note to see what the fuss was all about the next time an opportunity arose. So when fellow CNUer and urban designer Russ Preston came up from Providence for lunch earlier this week, we went over to Legal Sea Food's new Harborside 1. It was a nice day, if somewhat hazy, so the doors out to the harbor and the boat slips a level down were all wide open. In summer, exactly the way it should be. In the true spirit of RTUF's taking whatever we're given: although RTUF's photo apparatus was deployed, Russ' pictures were just that much better, so that's what we have. We here at RTUF highly recommend a visit yourself if you're here in town or come to visit anytime soon. If the rest of the redeveloped waterfront works this well, we will be lucky indeed.
RTUF Sketch of the Restored Urban Fabric: RTUF was spared the effort this time as the project architects, Elkus Manfredi, have a handy series of images, including a site plan, here. And Liberty Wharf itself even has a blog, check it out here.