Joan Goody Redux

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Goody Clancy’s Transportation Building is as good as Rafael Moneo’s early 1980s urban infill projects in Madrid, except for those disappointing white exterior plaster soffits – another example of American architecture’s Achilles Heel:  the reflected ceiling plan. And hats off to Handel Architects and the BRA for using the opportunity of One Charles Street to post-justify and complement the building.

Robert Campbell’s recent obituary for Joan Goody did a responsible job of capturing Ms. Goody’s personal biography for her family, friends, and co-workers but totally missed the opportunity to define her relevance to Boston and Boston’s particular architecture culture in the 1980s when the renewed field of urban design (as defined by Colin Rowe, Fred Koetter, and a new generation of American academics) and mainstream architectural practice were in rare alignment.  David Childs and Marilyn Taylor in Washington, DC, James Stewart Polshek in New York, and Adrian Smith in Chicago made similar achievements.

Where was mention of Tent City, the Transportation Building, and the new typology of mid-block high-rise that her firm invented for Boston (99 Summer Street and 101 Arch Street are the best examples)? Sure we called 99 Summer Street the “Wendy’s World Headquarters” when we were in the GSD in the late 1980s; but the project looks like a very enlightened approach to high-density development today. In fact, we have invoked the Joan Goody typology, established by these examples, at more than a few BRA meetings during the past few months while working on the Stuart Street Planning Study and the Greenway District Planning Study. Goody was only a good architect, but she was a great urban designer.

-Tim

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