Government Center Revisited (Part II)
(Check out Part I)
A series from Phil Reville, M. Arch Candidate
Spanning the arch of Cambridge Street along the top portion of the plaza sits One, Two, and Three Center Plaza, or as it is more commonly known, Center Plaza. This long crescent-shaped building was one of the last completed as a part of the redevelopment of Government Center, and houses a mix of retail, commercial, and governmental office space.
My quick visit to Government Center was not my first, nor my last trip around the area. The complex is rich in history both in the architecture that exists there today, and the architecture that once stood before it all. While Scollay Square is no more, there is ample research and documentation on it, especially here at our own BAC Library. Likewise, the library has a multitude of original contracts and plans for the construction of Government Center. They also have original scaled construction documents for City Hall and a few of the other buildings.
While I barely skimmed the surface of what is to be seen at Government Center, an even limited understanding of the place begs the question of original design intent. Some have called Government Center the worst development of the past century, and yet others staunchly defend it. Go take a look around and decide for yourself. The project was originally thought up to reinvigorate the city. As more people left the city for the suburbs, Boston sought to breath new life into its downtown core. Despite such intentions, Government Center has largely failed to meet the needs of the people of Boston, both then and now. As a designer you might ask yourself, what is the future that you are designing for?