Design buildings for the people who use them

The John Hancock building, under construction in 1971, was cutting edge for its day.
The John Hancock building, under construction in 1971, was cutting edge for its day.(Carl Pierce/Globe photo)

Mayor Walsh was right on target in suggesting that bold architecture is critical to Boston’s future, and Dante Ramos did an excellent job of outlining the challenges associated with the direction he has set (“Marty Walsh goes up against boring architecture,” Opinion, Dec. 10). But the city won’t get the superb design it deserves if it ends up with a little high-priced dazzle added to the same old boring boxes, or novelty just for novelty’s sake.

Excellence is achieved when the potential of each unique site is unleashed through the use of contemporary ideas to create places that inspire the people who use them. This was true when Rome was founded; it was true when Boston was founded; and it is still true today. The bottom line assumptions that lead to generic office buildings, cookie-cutter condominiums, and off-the-shelf facades need to be questioned, and talented teams of designers have to be given the opportunity to explore inventive ways of shaping urban neighborhoods. Development, design, regulatory, and community review processes need to be rethought if we are going to create the kind of dynamic environments that express our highest aspirations and that face up to the challenges the future holds.


The design community looks forward to working with Mayor Walsh to make sure Boston gets the kinds of innovative ideas and forward-looking plans he is asking for.

Tim Love
David Eisen

Tim Love is the president of the Boston Society of Architects. David Eisen is the Vice President of Communications for the Boston Society of Architects