New Balance’s new Brighton HQ in Boston – an ode to old urbanism

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New Balance’s new Brighton HQ an ode to old urbanism
he new headquarters for New Balance on Guest Street, Boston

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New Balance’s new Brighton HQ in Boston - an ode to old urbanism
The new headquarters for New Balance on Guest Street, Boston

I can’t think when I’ve heard so many people talking about a new work of architecture in Boston. What is it trying to look like, they ask? A cruise ship? A running shoe? Um, maybe a frog?

They’re talking about the world headquarters of the New Balance company, the folks who make athletic gear. We’ll call the building NB for short. Whatever you choose to name it, it’s an outstanding chunk of architecture.

NB is hard to miss. Its upper stories loom above you as you drive the Mass. Pike in Brighton, just inbound of the WGBH electronic billboard.

The architect, David Manfredi, of the firm Elkus Manfredi, has his own fantasy. He likes to imagine, as he drives by, that he’s racing the building—and winning, I guess, since NB doesn’t actually move. With its sleek shape and curving walls, NB projects an appropriate image for a maker of running shoes. Shoe or ship or sealing-wax, NB possesses one undeniable quality. It’s streamlined. It’s about speed. […]

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