Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Critic blames 60s Brutalism for Boston marathon bombings

  • Comment

US architecture critic James Russell has singled out the University of Massachusetts’ sixties architecture for alienating alleged Boston marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev

The Bloomberg News architecture critic criticised the Rudolph-designed University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus as ‘architecture that tyrannises’ and suggested the built environment was to blame for the tragedy.

Dzhokhar – who is currently being treated in hospital under police guard – was studying marine biology at the University of Massachusetts’ Dartmouth campus. He is the younger of the two brothers thought to be responsible for the tragic blasts which killed three people and injured 183 others.

Writing on his blog, Russell dubbed the Rudolph-masterplanned estate a‘strange mix of technocratic rationalism and architectural megalomania’.

He added: ‘The state appears to have skimped on everything but concrete and dozens of acres of parking. Its ambience is far more sewage-treatment plant than college. Scraggly looking low hedges and a few wind-blown trees constitute the landscape-architecture design.’

He continued: ‘Almost every surface is concrete. Though much of it is quite beautifully cast, the muddy [colour] of the surface sucks both light and the life out of the place. Hallways are dim, classrooms are only slightly less so.’

Commenting on Dzhokar’s motivation for the bombing, he said: ‘I wondered about the effect of such a deeply impersonal place. It’s isolated at the suburban edge and unintentionally expressive of the assembly-line education that’s become the cost-driven norm.

‘Does such a place aid the alienation — or, at least, impede the forming of deep personal bonds — of even a smart, sociable kid?’

He concluded: ‘It sounds much too glib an explanation — as the numerous other theories we are now hearing are likely to be — but I can’t help thinking it.’




  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.