I Want to Be Metropolitan: Boston Case Study

By Dongwoo Yim and Rafael Luna

I Want to be METROPOLITAN is a research on small scale metropolises, MINI Metropolis, using Boston as a case study to provide a different reading of the city. The study focuses on showing the efforts that the city of Boston has made in order to grow with metropolitan characteristics while remaining at a much smaller scale than cities like New York, London, or Tokyo. The morphology of Boston has been achieved through different metropolitan interventions that occur at different scales. These are divided at an infrastructural scale, urban scale, and architectural scale. By means of analyzing these different aspects, we can compose a vision of a future Boston, or Fictitious Boston, derived from its metropolitan potential.

The book is structured into four chapters addressing the different scales of analysis. The first chapter compiles general data of the city, and provides a background view at the infrastructural efforts that the city has done to accommodate its population. Examples of these are the Big Dig, land reclamation, and it’s transportation network. These are efforts that are very difficult to find in other cities of similar scale, and provide the first clue towards the potential of the future of Boston, and its current success.

The second chapter identifies Boston’s poly-centrality, a characteristic that appears in big metropolitan cities like Tokyo. Rather than having a single civic center or a downtown, Boston accommodates different urban cores such as, an industrial core, an institutional core, a commercial core, and others, within the confinements of its limited area. The chapter is subdivided into separate sections to explain each core and their significance in the city.

In an homage to ‘Made in Tokyo’, chapter 3 catalogs hybrid buildings in Boston referencing the ambiguity of these buildings being born out of a metropolitan context and transported to a less denser setting. Not to be confused with mixed-use buildings, Hybrid buildings emerge mostly in metropolises with high density, and high land value, providing new interesting ways of life in the city. Interestingly, hybrid buildings also emerge in Boston, which registers another clue of Boston’s metropolitan potential.

In present days, urban topics and strategies mainly focus on cities with extreme conditions such as density, congestion, and fast growth. This book intents to create a dialogue that addresses the missing topics in urbanism for smaller, slower, and much more stable cities. Chapter four becomes a conclusion by introducing our vision of new projects for the city of Boston to generate an open conversation about the topic. This leads us to the possible implementation of the research topic and methodology on other cities similar in size and pace to Boston.

Authors:

Dongwoo Yim is a co-founder and principal of PRAUD, and a faculty member of RISD in the Department of Architecture. He received a Master of Architecture in Urban Design at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and bachelor’s degree at Seoul National University.

Rafael Luna teaches at RISD in the Department of Interior Architecture and is a co-founder and principal of PRAUD. He received his Master of Architecture degree from MIT, and has professional experience at Toyo Ito Associates, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, KPF London and Machado and Silvetti Assoc.

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Spring 2017 Events

  • February 23, 6:30 PM Brett Schneider, Guy Nordenson and Associates & RISD Architecture
  • March 2, 6:30 PM at RISD Auditorium Petra Blaisse, Inside Outside, Hosted with INTAR, Textiles, RISD Museum
  • February 27, 6:30 PM Jeanette Kuo, Karamuk*Kuo
  • March 13, 6:30 PM Allan Wexler, Allan Wexler Studio, Hosted with ID
  • March 16, 6:30 PM Jarrett Walker, Jarrett Walker + Associates
  • April 3, 6:30 PM Kunle Adeyemi, NLÉ, Yoder Lecture
  • April 24, 6:30 PM Nader & Katie Faulkner, NADAAA, Shoemaker Lecture
  • May 11, 6:30 PM Shumi Bose, Central Saint Martins & Architectural Association

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