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The Boston Globe


Letters | The city’s sites

So-called ‘ugly’ buildings are part of city’s heritage, and deserve care

I appreciate Tom Keane’s reaction to Philip Johnson’s 1972 Boston Public Library addition and his depiction of its street presence as “simplistic and gloomy” (“Good with the bad,” Op-ed, May 7). In terms of scale and rhythmic harmony, its complement to the McKim Building fails to embody Johnson’s best work. If and how it gets retrofitted to respond to new programmatic requirements will demand, and hopefully receive, a high level of design skill.

That aside, I hesitate to characterize some of Boston’s most notable buildings of the 1960s and ’70s as ugly. The visibility, relevance, and, yes, beauty of some of these buildings requires us to maintain them, light them, and attend to landscaping and their immediate urban context.

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