31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #24

United Shoe Machinery Building, High Street at 138 – 164 Federal Street, Boston, MA

Parker, Thomas, and Rice, 1928-1930

I was inspired to highlight 31 buildings in Boston in 31 days after the architecture blog A Daily Dose of Architecture . Not only was I going to highlight 31 buildings, but 31 of Bostonian’s favorite buildings. This is the series.

About the United Shoe Machinery Building:

Here is an interesting connection between the United Shoe Machinery Building and Trinity Church which I was not aware of. The site that this fine art deco skyscraper sits on was the site of the home of Phillips Brooks, the charismatic preacher at Trinity Church who oversaw its construction.

I’m not surprised that this building made the list as it is one of the city’s well known art deco buildings recognized for its pyramidal shape. An interesting fact taken straight out of Susan and Michael Southworth’s AIA Guide to Boston Architecture: [United Shoe Machinery Building] was the first art deco skyscraper in Boston and influenced the design of subsequent buildings in both Boston and New York City.

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1 Comment

  1. This may be Boston’s greatest Art Deco building, because of how its gradually stepped massing arrives at a distinctive climax good enough for Superman to leap in a single bound. I should add that this was the first product of Boston’s 1928 height-restriction law allowing the construction of taller buildings provided that they were stepped back in this way to allow more light on the streets. Also, it was designed by Parker, Thomas & Rice, who also designed the original John Hancock building that predated the Art Deco-spired one and the Miesian glass tower. Parker was the namesake of the AIA Boston chapter’s annual Harleston Parker Medal for architectural excellence.

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