1959 Government Center Plan

As we work to uncover the complex cultural history of the Government Center urban renewal initiative, we came across fuller documentation of Adams-Howard-Greely-et-al plan from 1959.  Paul Spreirengen, one of the designers, sent Tunney Lee (MIT) and me this nice note and images recently. 

Dear Tim and Tunney:

I promised I’d send some images of the original Adams-Howard-Greely-et-al Government Center Plan when I located the original (1959) plan in my nearly ungainly archives. I did locate it and here are most of the images from that report document. They are fairly self-explanatory. I’ve added noted where I thought they might be needed. The images are in the order in which they appear in the report.

Paul Spreiregen

P1170047

Approaching the plaza from the alley alongside the old City Hall (R).  In spatial design, as well as building massing, and no less in spatial and massing composition we were very mindful of weaving into the existing social and physical texture of this part of Boston.

Credits for the plan (per Paul Spreiregen):
  • Adams Howard & Greeley, principal consultants, with Frederick Adams most active in the work.
  • Anderson Beckwith and Haible, with Lawrence Anderson most active.
  • Sasaki Walker, with Hideo Sasaki
  • John R Myer
  • Paul D Spreiregen

P1170048P1170049P1170051P1170052P1170053P1170054P1170059P1170060P1170061P1170062P1170063P1170065P1170066P1170067P1170068P1170069P1170070P1170071

6 thoughts on “1959 Government Center Plan

  1. Approaching the plaza from the alley alongside the old City Hall (R). In spatial design, as well as building massing, and no less in spatial and massing composition we were very mindful of weaving into the existing social and physical texture of this part of Boston.

  2. Why was the name of Kevin Lynch not mentioned in the credits for the planning of the Government Center? As a former student of Lynch and as having worked for the Boston City Planning Department at that time, I know that Lynch had an important role in the planning of the area. He was a major formulator in the field of urban design- in its education and its practice. His books on the subject remain as invaluable sources in urban design theory and practice.

  3. <html xmlns:v="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns:w="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" xmlns:st1="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40"&gt; <head> <meta http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=us-ascii"> <meta name=Generator content="Microsoft Word 11 (filtered medium)"> <!–[if !mso]> <style> v:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} </style> <![endif]–><o:SmartTagType namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="State"/> <o:SmartTagType namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="City"/> <o:SmartTagType namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="place"/> <o:SmartTagType namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="PersonName"/> <!–[if !mso]> <style> st1:*{behavior:url(#default#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]–> <style> <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face
    {font-family:Tahoma;
    panose-1:2 11 6 4 3 5 4 4 2 4;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
    {margin:0in;
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    {mso-margin-top-alt:auto;
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    {mso-style-type:personal-reply;
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    {size:8.5in 11.0in;
    margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in;} div.Section1
    {page:Section1;} –> </style> </head> <body lang=EN-US link=blue vlink=blue> <div class=Section1> <p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 color=navy face=Arial><span style=’font-size: 10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy’>I suggest you contact the MIT Archives about access/copies, Joe. Here’s the citation: <o:p></o:p></span></font></p> <p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 color=navy face=Arial><span style=’font-size: 10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy’></span></font></p> <p class=MsoNormal><i><font size=2 color=navy face=Arial><span style=’font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy;font-style:italic’>Dream and Reality Architecture and Urban Planning; an Interview with Kevin Lynch</span></font></i><font size=2 color=navy face=Arial><span style=’font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial; color:navy’>. 1 videocassette (55 min.). Directed by Anne Buttimer, Kevin Lynch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Department of Architecture. <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Cambridge</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">MA</st1:State></st1:place>: MIT Educational Video Resources, 1980.<o:p></o:p></span></font></p> <p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 color=navy face=Arial><span style=’font-size: 10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy’></span></font></p> <p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 color=navy face=Arial><span style=’font-size: 10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy’>As I remember, it takes them a while to get around to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Boston</st1:place></st1:City>, but as an ex-student I think the rest of the interview will interest you too. <o:p></o:p></span></font></p> <p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 color=navy face=Arial><span style=’font-size: 10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy’></span></font></p> <p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 color=navy face=Arial><span style=’font-size: 10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy’>Regards,<o:p></o:p></span></font></p> <div> <p><font size=2 color=navy face="Times New Roman"><span style=’font-size:10.0pt; color:navy’>David Lynch<br> Senior Study Manager<br> Division of Capital Asset Management<br> 617.727.4050 x564<br> david.lynch@state.ma.us <o:p></o:p></span></font></p> <p><i><font size=2 color=navy face="Times New Roman"><span style=’font-size: 10.0pt;color:navy;font-style:italic’>Please consider the environment before reading this email.</span></font><o:p></o:p></i></p> </div> <div> <div class=MsoNormal align=center style=’text-align:center’><font size=3 face="Times New Roman"><span style=’font-size:12.0pt’></span></div></div></div></body></html>

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