Where to begin, where to begin.
Let me start with this: I love Worcester, its an amazing city, with an amazing history. It finally seems like the city may be seeing a renaissance and I’m excited. However there is one thing that has set me off. It is the lack of design in anything that has been built recently, and especially what I scrolled past today on my Facebook Feed. So here’s the news:
A local Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, which is on the North Side of Worcester is moving part of it’s campus downtown (Horray more people downtown). Well today an article hit the Worcester Telegram and Gazette announcing that QCC was going to occupy the old Worcester Telegram and Gazette offices on Franklin Street, across from City Hall, and it was going help stimulate the development of the “Theatre District” in that neighborhood. All this is great news. However, what caught my attention was the rendering for the Telegram and Gazette Building. It was awful.
Lets start with the Telegram and Gazette Building, it is a beautiful old building that just screams “Newspaper.” I do not know when it was built, but it is almost a 1940’s early International Style or a stripped down Art Deco, no matter, it fits perfectly in the Franklin Street streetwall. It needs to just be cleaned up on the outside. I cannot speak for the inside, and that is not what I’m worried about, but I’m sure the inside needs to be gutted to be made suitable for QCC which is fine. However, the re-cladding of the Franklin Street side is terrible. It shows what I am imagining to be alucobond cladding, then there is a cornice extension that relates to the building next door. Finally the kicker is this box that projects out from the building. It does not even relate to the street wall and breaks the contunuity of the street. Why project this out over the street when it does not happen anywhere else on the street?
I’m a huge advocate for development downtown, but this is not a beautiful building at all, it looks cheap, and in a few years it will look dated I think. I would much rather see the facade cleaned up, maybe an extension of one floor to the top of the building if they want to match the cornice line, and then the first floor, which is bunker like be redone. When I say redone I mean that they remove the marble panels and make period style plate glass windows that would compliment the building.
Honestly this is a travesty for a building that represents an important piece of Worcester History, the former home of Worcester’s only daily newspaper. It speaks to the era of the Newspaper, it is right across from city hall, right in the middle of the action, allowing the newest news to be printed as it flowed from city hall. Why let the legacy of that building be destroyed and deface that facade when it can be preserved? I really haven’t been so bothered by something in a long while. Can we preserve just this facade and clean it up?