Representational Techniques to Convey Urban Variety

At Utile, we often struggle with the problem of how to convey the liveliness of fully conceived architectural proposals in our urban planning and master planning work.  One potential strategy is suggested by the rendering for MiLoft, a speculative proposal for an affordable housing project by RMJM (one of Utile’s alliance partners).  By differentiating the color of the light in each unit, a “lively” character is projected without the need to elaborate the architecture of the façade.  In this case, the representational strategy “softens” the minimal aesthetic of the proposal.  Our use of a similar technique will be at the service of another agenda.



Mets off to an Early Start

Tired of having to wait until September to see the Mets self-destruct?  Frustrated with how seldom you get to use the expression ‘historic meltdown’?  Well the Mets are on top of it.  They’ve achieved the nearly unprecedented “off-season historic meltdown”. The meltdown to which I am referring is of course the design of the inaugural season patch:



Traditionally, MLB inaugural patches have shared some common elements such as a reference to the stadium’s architecture, a city skyline, incorporation of the team logo, or at the very least a reference to baseball in general:





The Mets approach was to take their new stadium logo and replace ‘Citi’ with ‘Inaugural Season’, adding no reference to the stadium, city, sport, impending September meltdown, etc. As pointed out in this Yahoo Sports Blog, this approach required the absolute minimum effort to make the patch ‘field legal’ as teams are not allowed to don corporate logos on their uniforms. Needless to say, the Citi Field logo is not very interesting either (evidently neither the corporation nor the team was willing to compromise its colors). 


I would be dishonoring the few members of my family who are Mets fans if I didn’t mention that I grew up a Mets fan as well. So as a Mets fan who has adopted the Red Sox as my AL team, it pains me on several levels to admit that the Yankees inaugural patch is actually pretty good. 


Not bad, but (insert A-Rod joke).

A final thought on the 2009 Mets:  In a vacuum, it would be hard to bet against a team with Santana, K-Rod, Wright, Reyes, and Beltran, but playing in the same division as the defending champs as well as having the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Tom Glavine and Adam Dunn in the division might imply that the Mets are in for another historic mel…(sigh); I can’t even say it again. Lets just work on clinching the wildcard, boys.


Hidden Boston Modernism 1



In the first of an ongoing series (hopefully), I introduce an unknown / underappreciated work of Boston modernism: the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association Building, at 20 Ashburton Place.  As far as I can glean, the 9-story Brutalist-lite building was built in 1967.  I haven’t been able to find information about the architect, or any further interesting gossip about the context surrounding its design/construction.  You should go check it out: it is more or less subsumed by the larger buildings that surround it, but it’s a surprising little crenellated gem.