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Architecture - Urban DesignThe Berkshire Review in Boston

A BR Exclusive: Superstarchitect Jefe Anglesdottir’s First Project in the Hub!

Anglesdottir sketches with disposable ballpoint pens in order to "produce a hesitant yet desirous line which traces the distilled magnitude of the epoch."
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Project Target Area.
Project Target Area.

In the architect’s own words:

“I call this project “soft traces and unstable vectors.” It is situated at Alewife, in what one might call the ‘wild west’ of Cambridge, a place where one encounters a series of relentlessly traced layerings of the urban condition, more like concrete brushstrokes rather than a congealed city. There is a sense of theatrical passage, even when standing still. A highway. Some trace of savage swampland. The forlornness of parking. Squirrels.

Jefe Anglesdottir, Project for Alewife: "soft traces and unstable vectors," architectural model, 2012.
Jefe Anglesdottir, Project for Alewife: "soft traces and unstable vectors," architectural model, 2012.

The project is programmatically tripartite, perhaps didactically so. The vertical portion of the tower contains offices for the MBTA. The horizontal bar, cantilevered asymmetrically so as to avoid direct signification, contains Aku Aku, a Polynesian restaurant which for many years constituted a critical and not un-ironic layer of the area’s social, cultural and olfactory capital.

Aku Aku Restaurant, 1968-2000.
Aku Aku Restaurant, 1968-2000.

The restaurant is revolving, but like a hamster wheel.

Aku Aku Dining Rooms and Bar.
Aku Aku Dining Rooms and Bar.

The underground portion expresses the iconic cultural legibility of what may come to be called ‘Alewife roulette.’ There are five railway tunnels. The trains and platforms are unmarked and destinations change unpredictably. Two of the tunnels contain trains which go to and from New York at 350km/hr. Two go to and from Braintree. One goes to Springfield, express.”

Anglesdottir sketches with disposable ballpoint pens in order to "produce a hesitant yet desirous line which traces the distilled magnitude of the epoch."
Herre Anglesdottir sketches with disposable ballpoint pens in order to "produce a hesitant yet desirous line which traces the distilled magnitude of the epoch."

Jefe Anglesdottir: In Excelsis from Groovy Beige on Vimeo.

Alan Miller

About Alan Miller

Alan Miller is a graduate of the Sydney University Faculty of Architecture and holds a BFA in film from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. A fanatical cyclist, he is a former Sydney Singlespeed Champion. Alan Miller reports on cycling, film, architecture, politics, and other sports in his letters from Sydney. He won the 2011 Architects’ Journal Writing Prize.

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