Notes from the Underground: Boston Disconnect

NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND: SUBWAY SUPERSTATIONThe studio will be based on the premise that the Boston subway system is dysfunctional and inadequate, but also critical to the future health of the city. Opened in 1897, Boston9s subway was the first in the United States and one of only four underground transit systems in the world at that time. By the 1920s, the system comprised of the Green, Blue, Red and Orange lines,tunnels and the stations was virtually complete. For the most part, it remains in use and unchanged today.Compared to public transit systems in major cities around the world, which strive for a measure of egalitarian service for most areas of a city,Boston9s subway serves a few people well, many poorly, most not at all. It is less a system, than a series of lines that interconnect with awkwardness and difficulty. The studio will focus on a strategic architectural intervention, aimed at correcting the lack of connectedness between the lines. The site of this intervention will be the intersection of the Red, Green and Orange lines in the area inclusive of the Park Street and Downtown Crossing stations. The project will be to reconsider these stations, and the land adjacent, under and above them as the site of a new Superstation, and in so doing re imagine and redefine the subway itself. In a city nostalgic for a romantic and picturesque past, the studio will focus on the future and radical transformation.The studio is aimed primarily at students from the department ofArchitecture. Students from Urban Design and other departments will also be welcome.The first meeting will be held on Monday, after the Lottery. Class will meet regularly on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, from 2 to 6.A studio trip to Montreal will be scheduled in the coming two weeks. The visit will focus on the subway system, built in the 1960s and continuously expanded since. Fully integrated into the city, the Metro, as it is called, is fast and modern. Connected not only to the above ground, but to a vast network of underground spaces, the Metro is critical to using and understanding the city of Montreal.In Montreal, the class will also visit an extraordinary exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, titled 3the 60s: Montreal thinks big2, focused on the era during which Montreal planned the Metro and transformed itself into a modern city.