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$530 pledged of $8,000 goal
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About

“Heroic” presents the concrete structures that highlighted the era from the founding of the Boston Redevelopment Authority in 1957 to the re-opening of Quincy Market in 1976. These events bracket a remarkable period in which concrete was used as a building material in the transformation of Boston—creating what was eventually referred to as the “New Boston.” Concrete provided an important set of architectural opportunities and challenges for the design community, which fully explored the material’s structural and sculptural qualities. At this time, Boston was shaped by some of the world’s most influential architects: Le Corbusier, I. M. Pei, Walter Gropius, Paul Rudolph, Josep Lluis Sert, Tad Stahl, Hugh Stubbins, Minoru Yamasaki, Marcel Breuer, Eduardo Catalano, Araldo Cossutta, and Gerhard Kallmann and Michael McKinnell, among many other luminaries.

Boston was at the forefront of architectural thinking, embracing this new material in a mission to expand and transform the city. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for this work within the architecture community. Whole new districts and vast infrastructural improvements appeared, serving the needs of government, hospitals, universities, housing, and, to a lesser extent, the financial sector. Some of these developments were important to modernizing the city. Others fractured communities in the name of misguided urban renewal.

Today we see a widespread disdain for concrete buildings. Many are in danger of being demolished or irrevocably and unwisely altered. Some already have been. Others are constantly being bandied about for demolition or equally destructive fates (notably Kallmann, McKinnell, and Knowles’ Boston City Hall and Paul Rudolph’s Health and Human Services Building, both part of the vast Government Center urban renewal project that reshaped the downtown center of the city).

What were once heralded as heroic visions in remaking a city have now become perceived as hubristic and brutal. But Boston has never been just a city of brick. With the vast amount and high quality of concrete architecture produced during the Heroic era of modernism, Boston was, and is, significantly a concrete city.

The team has mounted an initial exhibition of our research, created an online archive, and developed a significant outline for further research which will culminate in an international publication. The book will be co-edited by the Heroic team, with invited essays and interviews from a number of sources. Contributors include designers from the Heroic era, architectural historians and critics, architectural materials specialists, structural engineers, and young and emerging architects working in Boston today.

Funding will be used to developing our ongoing research, including video interviews with surviving architects from the Heroic era, high-resolution scanning of original drawings and archival material, and the design of an expanded web archive. Funding will also be used to support production of content for the book, including graphic design, mockups, and fees for authors to write original texts. The team has already received significant interest from architectural publishers who will support the printing and international distribution of the final book.

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    A copy of the final publication in high-quality PDF form.

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    A copy of the final publication in high-quality PDF form. Invites to openings.

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    Credit in the sponsor section, and a copy of the book. Invites to openings.

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    Credit in the sponsor section, a limited edition copy of the book, and a limited edition archival print of an original building photograph. Invites to openings.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Credit at front of the book, a copy of the book, a limited edition archival print of an original building photograph. and a 1-hour walking tour by the Heroic authors of a selected building of the period.

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    Credit at front of the book, a copy of the special edition of the book, a large archival print of a building photograph (of the donor's choice), and a 2-hour walking tour by the Heroic authors highlighting key buildings of the period. Invites to previews and openings.

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    Founding sponsors. Credit at front of the book, a copy of the special edition of the book, a large archival print of a building photograph (of the donor's choice), and a 2-hour walking tour by the Heroic authors highlighting key buildings of the period. Invites to previews and openings.

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Funding period

- (83 days)