Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Rising

In the city, they say the buildings rise to reach the sky.  The street-scape is crowded, and buildings touch each other.  The only way to stretch out is up.  And so, from time to time we witness a rising.  Looking east on Massachusetts Avenue, a rising is underway.  Reaching high for the sky, a tall crane lifts up the steel skeleton of this new tower.  Berklee College of Music is constructing "a mixed-use building that will include ... student housing" with "two-story community rooms, practice and ensemble rooms, and a small fitness center. It will also include a 400-seat dining hall and evening performance venue, ground floor retail space, and recording studios and other music technology spaces two levels below grade."

Certainly good for the college.  But its rising will interrup for many generations a view seldom seen of St. Cecilia Church, which was available for a few months  while construction was reaching down to set a firm foundation in the gravely glacial deposits that bordered Boston's Back Bay.  Unlike other nearby towers founded on piles into the muck of the Back Bay, this new tower sits firmly on dry land that's existed since the glacial recession, some 12,500 or more years ago.

Driving Massachusetts Avenue from Cambridge, Boston's two tallest towers rise high above the Back Bay.  The green bridge rail in the forground obscures the height of the typical Back Bay residences.  The contrast reveals what giants these two are, rising so high out of what was once the muck of the tidelands along the Charles River.
The Prudential Tower rises above the tree-lined Commonwealth Avenue.  In the forground, the shorter brick-clad buildings of Back Bay are in the shaddows, while the Pru stretches high and enjoys bathing in the sunshine of a fall afternoon.
The Hancock Tower rises to touch the sky as seen from Bay Village.  Immediately to its right, another rising as Liberty Mutual erects a tower that obstructs the view of the iconic original Hancock Tower, with its lighted beacon.