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The Boston area’s most interesting new building designs: An explainer

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Region suddenly awash in non-boring architecture plans and pitches, from Boston University to Charlestown to the Seaport

New development in the Boston region can seem rather pedestrian design-wise—usually some proportion of boxy and glassy. Every now and then, though, a proposal comes along that draws particular attention for its novelty or at least its attempt at mold-breaking.

Right now, there area a few such designs under consideration in the area. Here they are.


A building with various terraces. The building facade is red with many windows. Rendering via KPMB Architects

Probably the most provocative right now is Boston University’s recently proposed headquarters for its data sciences. KPMB Architects has designed the 19-story tower at 645-665 Commonwealth Avenue to resemble a stack of books.

Rendering via Boston Properties

In Cambridge’s Kendall Square, developer Boston Properties wants to replace the four-story building housing the M.I.T. Coop with an 18-story tower that bulges as it rises. The design of the building—which may or may not house Google offices when all is said and done—has met with some skepticism. What’d you think?

Rendering courtesy of Cronin Development

Talk about context: Elkus Manfredi’s design for the 22-story St. Regis Residences, Boston is meant to evoke a billowing sail. That’s because the tony condo tower now under construction is going up in the Seaport District.

Renderings courtesy of Elkus Manfredi Architects and SMMA

Elkus Manfredi is also designing the new properties at the 20-acre Hood Park site in Charlestown, along with SMMA. The project is due to include seven fresh buildings, including the 290-foot 35 Supertest Street, which will look like a figure-eight all the way up, and 25 Supertest Street, a 100-foot building that will look like two stacked rectangles.

Rendering via Stantec

Stantec is behind the design for the redevelopment of the Dock Square Garage in downtown Boston. The city is reviewing the project, which would include a 10-story addition to the garage for 195 condos. Its roof is supposed to end up looking like terraces descending down toward the neighboring Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.