Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) is facing the classic Longwood Medical Area tension between the future and the past in its long-term development plans.
It aims to plant a tower atop what is now a handsome Shattuck Street building and a unique park.
Maximizing BCH’s ability to save and improve the lives of children must be the first priority. But we would like to see more open discussion of possible alternatives and compromises.
The 55 Shattuck building does not seem to have a crucial history or location. But perhaps there is a way to incorporate the Shattuck building’s facade into the new tower. And, while BCH intends to replace the park with a series of indoor and rooftop versions, we would like to see expert opinion on what would best help patients and their families.
The intense density of the LMA is a good thing, a tribute to the energetic medical brilliance that happens there 24/7. But it is also a place of historic institutions that value that history, and where the healing powers of open space and nature also have a role. It makes sense to put some extra thought into those impacts.