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Historic Resources Committee

  • COST

    Free and open to the public

  • TYPE

    Knowledge Community



Landscape Brutalism at UMass Dartmouth: Reimagining the Plinth

The period of architecture now known as mid-century Brutalism is reaching the age necessitating either repair or demolition. An era of high-minded social ideal and grand, monumental public buildings that elevated society above the grime and perceived hostility of the urban milieu, also seemed to perpetuate the social ills proponents were trying to escape by isolating the buildings from their context. Since the urban renaissance of the past 30 years, streets and sidewalks have become livable and welcoming again, but these incredible hulks still meet the ground with fortress-like fervor. This presents urban designers, architects, landscape architects and preservationists with an interesting challenge: As these buildings reach the age of repair or demolition, do we preserve them and their settings as they are – possibly at the expense of a healthy public realm – or do we adapt the buildings and their setting to address and enhance the animated reinvigorated context in which they now find themselves

John Amodeo, principal at CRJA-IBI Group landscape architects returns to the BSA/HRC in May to present his recent project at MacLean Hall, the auditorium at UMass Dartmouth, Paul Rudolph’s seminal campus opus. One of our most popular guest speakers, John will demonstrate how the landscape around an iconic and monumental Brutalist building can be adapted in a sympathetic and compatible manner, while converting a vacant, ceremonial plinth into an active campus gathering space. A key challenge posed by many Brutalist buildings is that the plinths upon which they were often elevated were only accessible via monumental stairs. This presentation will demonstrate how surgical sympathetic alterations can improve universal access to these noble buildings, while maintaining their monumentality.

For those who qualify, 1.5 LU/HSWs are available.

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