Harbor Towers Rise
In 1971, Harbor Towers were the first major residential buildings constructed along Boston's waterfront. The project was part of the city's effort to turn things around on its dilapidated wharves. Boston had been in decline like many U.S. cities, its population dropping. The revitalization plan also included Christopher Columbus Park, the New England Aquarium, and renewal of Quincy Market.
Charles Bulfinch designed the building that stood upon India Wharf for 155 years. Similarly, highly regarded Henry Cobb of I. M. Pei & Partners was chosen as the architect for Harbor Towers. Cobb's design came midst the city's bold—though short-lived—experiment with concrete modernism or Brutalist architecture. Some saw concrete as compatible with the city's granite warehouses.
Boston's Mayor White touted Harbor Towers as luxury living on the harbor, hoping to lure people to the city. However, delays in street and sidewalk connections and the setting between a then-polluted harbor and elevated highway forced lower rents. Today, thanks to two massive investments of public funds—the Big Dig and the successful harbor clean-up—the towers are among the city's most desirable residences.