Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hartford's "Boat Building"


Here’s a look at the Boat Building. It’s the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Building in Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut, built 1961 to 1963. It was the first two-sided building in the world.

Now on the National Register of Historic Places, it represents that Modernist architectural style identified with the early 1960s, designed by Max Abramovitz, who also designed the United Nations Building in New York City, as well as Lincoln Center.

It’s 13 stories tall, and its sides face north and south. A couple of months ago, this 47-year-old building became the first historic building in New England to earn certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for environmental achievement. Modern and progressive architecture, indeed, apparently. For more on the award, have a look at this website.

For more on the history of the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Building, have a look here.

4 comments:

deeidub said...

I recently ended a 16-year employment with Phoenix. Never worked in the boat building but visited periodically for meetings and such. However, before Phoenix I worked for a competitor in Springfield, MA and remember hearing a story at the time that techies at the Phoenix building had in some way programmed windows and lighting during Christmastime to light up and spell out "NOEL" on both sides of the building at night. Only problem was, the programming was kept identical for both sides, and one side ended up proclaiming a joyous "LEON" to all.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Hysterical. You just made my day. A happy LEON to everyone!

wingman said...

I can support deeidub's comment, having grown up in Wethersfield, the NOEL was done on the constitution plaza side of the building to participate in the festival of lights...first time I ever saw the now ubiquitous "twinkle" white lights.
As I understand it, the CEO or another high-up executive was so taken with the media response to the NOEL on the plaza side, that he wanted to share it on the South side of the building so Folks going North on the brand new I-91 could see it as well...to this end he simply had all of the lights across the hall from the NOEL windows left on as well...My dad drove me downtown to see it....It took three days for the word to trickle up to a decision maker who could order the change to proper offices...the corporate wheels turned more slowly back then....

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks for stopping by, Wingman. And a Happy Leon to everyone.