City Style: Air Apparent
A stunning design (and defeat of gravity) takes a Boston institution into the new century—and beyond.
Imagine Amtrak’s high-speed Acela train crossed with the glassy sheen of the Back Bay’s John Hancock Tower. The result would look a lot like WGBH’s new Brighton building, set to open next year. Much more engaging than the station’s drab old Allston base, the new 450-foot-long glass prism, designed by New York–based Polshek Partnership, joins a series of renovated buildings to compose the most exciting company headquarters since the aforementioned skyscraper. Rather than rise 790 feet into the clouds, however, this architectural marvel extends horizontally to collide, ever so deftly, with an adjacent building before cantilevering toward the eastbound Massachusetts Turnpike. Supported by seven reinforced concrete columns, the glass connector will accommodate the WGBH studio and production teams. Downstairs, a street-level pavilion includes a 200-seat screening room open to the public. At one end, the new tower will hold several LED screens to lend animation to the Boston skyline and give Pike motorists some eye candy on the way to work.
Behind the scenes at the new WGBH headquarters.
HANGING TIGHT Architecture firm Polshek Partnership also designed Little Rock’s acclaimed Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, which features another gutsy cantilever—this time over the banks of the Arkansas River.
NEW ORDER The WGBH complex is next door to sneaker giant New Balance; the two headquarters will share parking and cafeteria space.
ROAD SHOW Commuters will soon tune in to a new daily phrase: “Pike traffic is backed up to the WGBH….”