>> Saturday, April 17, 2010

As we start to think more seriously about packing up and moving, I have been getting a little sentimental about leaving what I consider to be the best apartment location in Boston. We ended up here on a fluke, it was the last of 17 apartments we saw last year on a whirlwind real estate tour. It was the only South End apartment on our list, had a washer and dryer in unit, so we took it. Who wouldn't fall in love with this street?
And have I ever mentioned that I share a zip code with this?
This is the view from the end of our street.
If you are not a Bostonian or an architecture buff, this is the John Hancock Tower designed by this cute man.
Hilda had some stories about  I.M. Pei. Apparently he was quite the bargain shopper. Hilda should write a blog, it would be way better than mine. The John Hancock tower has quite an interesting story on it's own. 
Boston is an infill city, meaning, we're all living on a bunch of dirt that was trucked in from Dorchester and Quincy. Boston used to be a much smaller city.

So our city is not very tall like NYC, because the ground underneath is not rock. It's dirt. Buildings would fall down. So the John Hancock is one of very few Boston skyscrapers. The shape and orientation of the building was designed so that when the sun hit it at a certain angle, a large shadow covers the city, making it's presence known. Architects are so modest aren't they? The mirrored glass was selected to reflect the city in all it's splendor and at sunset it casts a magnificent golden line across the Charles River. Anyway, so that's the history, here is the drama....the windows fell out, 2,472 windows to be exact.
I've been told that the engineer designed the frames too rigid and when the building swayed (which was also not good) the glass just popped right out or shattered. So to fix the glass they had to fix the sway. I hear that back in the day when you used the toilet in the upper floors, the water used to slosh all around in the bowl. That would probably make me too nervous to go. So to fix it (keep in mind I am an Interior Designer, explaining structural engineering, so this could be a bit off) they craned a huge beam to the roof of the building and sat it basically in a bed of oil, with springs on both ends. The whole roof contraption helped counterbalance the wind loads and fixed the swaying building and falling windows. They also added a bunch of steel to stiffen it up. And they no longer call it the largest plywood skyscraper.

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