Railings on New Salem St Building

Saw this on UHub (link here), as well as the 4 or 5 signs taped to the ground floor windows of the building….Interesting, because I totally agree…the railings look horrendous & I have yet to hear a North End resident say anything good about them. If they were off the beaten path that’d be one thing, however the building is right smack dab in the heart of the North End….a tourist haven.

Ed: This story made it on the 11 o’clock Ch. 4 WBZ news here. The design was first presented in 2014 at neighborhood meetings. Also, as mentioned in the comments, we did a poll back in March. For reference, the railings in question are shown below.

5 Replies to “Railings on New Salem St Building

  1. Two of the most egregiously developed buildings in the North End in my lifetime are 77 Salem Street and 103 Charter Street, both completely out of place with its streetscape. 77 Salem Street is too bulky for the area while the garage entrance breaks up the row of of restaurants and shops. 103 Charter Street, with it’s faux brick two story addition and neighboring “modern” buiding looms over an otherwise idyllic Copps Hill. I cringe every time I see these two buildings. This is why the North End needs careful architectural review and approval of development. Most recent development, not the Chrysanthemum building, does seem to conform to the neighborhood’s historic character.

  2. The chrysanthemum pattern of the railings are decorative, ornate as wrought iron often is at the whim of the artist who weaves it; look at any building in the neighborhood whose fire escapes are unusual and whose copper stampings are remarkable, ornamental and sometimes bizarre.

    The flower has cultural significance to the owner of the building. It was painstakingly explained by Frano Violich who designed it at several community meetings and met with approval of residents, for more reasons than its appearance at first glance.

    The ground floor provides for commercial tenants to change over time, a pattern that used to be part of vibrant and characteristic life in this neighborhood before every square inch of indoor space was turned into a dwelling.

    This building has a carbon negative structure, the wood used to build it was harvested by the Forest Stewardship Council, effectively it keeps almost 100 million tons of CO2 from going back into the environment.

    Since we are soon doing away with the Clean Air Act, and removing regulations from vehicle pollution we will need more buildings like it if we want to continue to breathe.

    Wake up and smell the chrysanthema.

    1. This is amazing, thank you for such a succinct response! I personally love this building and the clean modern aesthetic and decorative yet highly functional railing system. You are the kind of architectural champion this city needs, cheers to you my friend! Ciao!

  3. If anyone has ever seen the movie “Gomorrah” which takes place in the projects in Naples, this design reminds me of that neighborhood.

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