The Hidden Meaning of Herringbone


I have always liked the brick herringbone sidewalk in front of the McKim Mead & White apartment building at the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets (with the Starbucks on the ground floor). I discovered this example today at the corner of Marlborough and Berkeley Streets and next to the Belluschi-designed Lutheran church. I like the way the pattern negotiates the ups and downs of the terrain – as if it were an old rug on an uneven floor.  But it turns out that herringbone brick isn’t so innocent of ideological baggage to landscape architects. It connotes a certain period of post-modernism to Reed Hilderbrand, our collaborators on City Hall Plaza and the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion, for example. Who knew?


“Collaboration” Gone Wild


Quoting from today’s New York Times about a new office interior in Atlanta by Gensler:  “You see and feel work happening all over the space,” Mr. Grindell said. “There’s better density, energy and productivity on two floors now than on two and a third before.” And “The us-versus-them went away,” Mr. Parker said. “It’s one team, one floor. Now we’ve got some mojo.”  If you ask me, the “work pyramid” and the astro-turf pillows are completely ridiculous – and fueled by uncritical and clichéd ideas about the modern work environment.