Harvard's plan to build a new glass-enclosed pavilion that would eat up about one-quarter of the existing public space in Forbes Plaza, across the street from the university's main campus, has some crying gentrification—but to no avail.
The university's plan already has the requisite approvals, including the blessing of the Cambridge Historical Commission, a rep for which told the Globe's Beth Teitell that the new 6,491 square feet of indoor space, including two fireplaces, balanced the loss of the outdoor features. The pavilion is part of a larger renovation project for the neighboring Smith Campus Center and would be open to the masses, not just Harvard folk.
Still, some residents see the dismantling of several chessboard and Au Bon Pain tables as an existential threat to the vibe of the surrounding Harvard Square: "Critics say the glass enclosure would intrude on the freewheeling culture of one of the square's best-known public spaces, a gathering spot for professors and students, protesters and tourists, chess players and street performers, and homeless people who may not feel comfortable going inside." One wag has dubbed the Forbes Plaza plans an attempt at creating a "Harvard theme park."
Again, though, things appear to be moving forward. Still: Stay tuned. Cambridge and all that.
· Harvard's Glass Pavilion Plan for Plaza Meets Resistance [Globe]
· Dramatic Changes to Harvard Square Plaza, Au Bon Pain, Are at Planning Board Tonight [Day]
· Sullivan Courthouse Fight: All This for 24 Apartments? [Curbed Boston]