Where is the Love? The Building Bostonians Love to Hate

Boston City Hall, Rear facing Faneuil Hall, Photo Credit: Historic American Building Survey

Yelp has become quite the platform for not only reviewing restaurants, hotels, stores and everything in between, but also architecture and public spaces. Who knew? 

 Curious to see what people had to say about some of Boston’s most beautiful “ugly” buildings, I conducted a search on Yelp.

It turns out, people love the Christian Science Monitor Complex in Boston, a complex with an excellent collection of concrete buildings from around the 1970′s, but hate Boston City Hall. Who knew?  Bostonians love to hate it, while those reviewers from other states like it.

Did you know that in 1976, on a national survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects and taken by architects, critics and historians in the United States, Boston City Hall was voted as one of the ten greatest works in American architectural history? I have been saying that for years, but read it from our very own architecture critic Robert Campbell

I think Boston City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in the City of Boston. Let’s agree to disagree.

Yelp Reviews of City Hall:

Jeremy G. from Humble, TX – writes “THIS is the building Le Corbusier **WISHED** he had designed.”

Beans B. from Brighton, MA:  “From the wind-swept brick wasteland outside to the ridiculously narrow and uncomfortable spectator seats in the city council chamber to the lack of sufficient restrooms this building is a disaster.”

Alexandra S. from Hingham, MA: “There’s no avoiding the area for me since I walk through Boston City Hall plaza twice a day during the week. Ultimately, the sad reality is that no matter how much I’ve looked for something to appreciate, I don’t like this building.  

I’ll even go a step further and say that there is in fact nothing redeeming at all about Boston CIty Hall and the red brick environs. I finally just have to admit to myself that this is just one ugly and off-putting building and plaza.”

Sebastian Y. from Boston, MA: “A monstrosity apparently designed by angry communists, which would look more at home on the outskirts of Moscow or Minsk.” 

Hans W. from Brooklyn, NY writes:  “City Hall is a badass spaceship space palace, and it’s sitting downtown because in 1962 someone had an original idea and someone else took a chance on it.  And that’s what life’s all about.”-  Right on Sir! Right on!

K G. from Boston, MA: “I don’t despise the building itself as much as many people seem to.  I have not seen another building like it, so you can call it unique at least.”

Jack M. from Boston, MA: “As a friend of mine once said, “Boston City Hall is the ugliest piece of architecture on the planet”.  Well said, dear sir!  Well said.”

Dan B. from Newton, MA: “The Boston City Hall looks like a good design for a maximum security prison in the Soviet Union.  Except even the Soviets would never have come up with the giant concrete stilts, which causes the building’s underside to loom over congress street and the unfortunate security guards who work there.”

Courtney P. from Boston, MA: “This building is just ugly.  With architecture being one of my favorite parts of Boston, it’s so disappointing that this building is City Hall.  Please consider building something else!” – Say it ain’t so, Courtney!

What do you think of Boston City Hall? Let’s hear your thoughts.

The Cheney Building Stands Like a Tree in Downtown Hartford

Here’s a wonderful building in Hartford, CT by Henry Hobson Richardson, the genius behind masterpieces like Trinity Church on Copley Square and the Woburn Public Library among others. The Cheney Building (1875-76) stands like a tree in downtown Hartford, setting itself apart from its neighbors through the polychromatic stonework, rustication, and the floral motifs carved throughout its exterior. Richardson’s influence is felt throughout the United States, Canada and Northern European countries where local and nationally known architects admired his works, often incorporating many of Richardson’s signature elements into their architecture. If you visit Hartford, don’t miss the Cheney Building on Main Street, it’s a gem worth staring at for hour and hours.

All photos credit of The Evolving Critic.

PHOTO ESSAY—Ashmont Hill: Exploring the Architecture and Beauty of a Boston Streetcar Suburb

Sam Bass Warner’s Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Growth in Boston (1870-1900) documents in great detail the process of growth in Boston, from the 2-mile radius city that it was once to the metropolis that it is today. Last
summer I explored the gardens of Highland Park, a small segment of the once streetcar suburb of Roxbury and felt this summer should be dedicated to Dorchester, one of the first streetcar suburbs of Boston.

The three (Roxbury, West Roxbury and Dorchester) streetcar suburbs discussed in Warner’s classic study were enormous in size compared to the old pedestrian city of 1850.

By 1900, the population of these suburbs (now neighborhoods of Boston) boomed to about 227,000 compared to about 60,000 in 1870. That’s an alarming growth rate! According to the building records Warner studied, between 1870 and 1900—22,500 houses went up: 12,000 single family houses, 6,000 two
family houses, 4,000 three-family houses, and about 500 larger structures (35).

Walking around these streetcar suburbs can be disorienting because “the shape of the land is buried under endless streets so filled with houses and so patched together that the observer cannot orient himself in a
landscape larger than a block or two (35).” The 22,500 houses built in these streetcar suburbs “were the product of separate decisions made by 9,000 individual builders” (37).

The houses we see today serve as examples of social class building patterns. Their style and size are testament of Boston’s rich immigration history. Some great examples of the Stick Style, Shingle Style,
Arts and Crafts Movement, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival among other types and styles can be found around Ashmont Hill in Dorchester.

For in depth information on Boston’s streetcar suburbs consult Sam Bass Warner’s book mentioned above. Douglass Shand-Tucci’s Ashmont: An Historical Guide to Peabody Square, Carruth’s Hill and Ashmont Hill and the Architecture of Edwin J. Lewis, Jr. and John A Fox complements Warner’s book very well.

One on One: Exploring the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists

The best way to get to know a city or a neighborhood is by walking its streets. Earlier this summer, I set out to explore the area of Roxbury roughly bounded by Seaver Street, Walnut Avenue and Crawford Street. I headed down Walnut Avenue and walked around the grounds of Abbotsford (Oak Bend), one of the finest stone mansions in Boston.

Abbotsford, designed in 1872 by Alden Frink in the Gothic Revival style is home to a gem known as the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists.  The grand mansion has served many purposes in the past which include a disciplinary school for boys in the Boston Public School system. It was purchased in 1976 by the National Center of Afro-American Artists and is now the largest independent black cultural arts institution in New England. Its collection exceeds 4,000 works of art which include well known artists such as Charles White, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence as well as living contemporary black artists from around the world.

John Wilson’s Eternal Presence (1987) greets viewers upon entering the museum. Wilson drew inspiration from various cultures including Ancient Olmec and Buddhist works to represent the African Diasporas dispersed throughout the world (also represented in the museum’s collection). Once inside, visitors can expect to experience “Aspelta – A Nubian King’s Burial Chamber” one of the museum’s most notable and delightful exhibitions.

Apart from looking at the art currently on display, my experience at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists also included a 45 minute long conversation with Ben Alleyne, a painter and sculptor who has been the caretaker of the mansion for more than twenty years. His monumental sculptures can be seen on the grounds of the museum.

For an off the beaten path museum experience in Boston, the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists is an excellent choice. The museum is easily accessible by public transportation. The MBTA Bus Routes #22 from Ashmont, Jackson Square or Ruggles Station and #29 from Jackson Square or Ruggles stop at Walnut Avenue. The museum is roughly a ten minute walk from the bus stop.

In Pursuit of Urban Nature: Hiking Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace

I’m lucky to live in Boston. With its small town feel and international appeal, Boston is an amazing place to take in the arts, culture and architecture. This spring I posted a blog listing the things every Bostonian must add to their bucket list and although I had experienced everything on the list, there was one exception:  hiking the Emerald Necklace in an entire day.

Earlier this summer, my friend Cristy and I went on an expedition to explore the beauty of Boston’s Emerald Necklace, a string of interconnected parks stretching through many of the city’s neighborhoods and cultural institutions.  As any urban planner, architect, or city enthusiast would tell you, the best way to get to know and experience a city is by walking its streets. This is exactly what Cristy and I did. We started our hike across Park Street Church on Boston Common at around 11:15AM on a Sunday and finished around 5:00PM at the entrance of Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester.

In the nineteenth century, nature and parks were idealized and venerated, an idea reflected in the landscapes of many cities across the country.  Parks provided city dwellers and factory workers with leisure activities that involved fishing, swimming and many other past times. They provided a relief from the long work day hours and living conditions.

 The power of parks and green open spaces in bringing people from all walks of life together has always fascinated me. I love walking through a park and listening to the many different languages spoken by users. No one understood this better than Frederick Law Olmsted, the genius behind this incredible cultural resource in Boston.

The father of the modern landscape architecture movement, Frederick Law Olmsted’s story is as inspiring and moving as was his vision in transforming the landscapes of America. Along with his son Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., his adopted stepson John C. Olmsted and the rest of the partners in the firm, Olmsted dominated the landscape architecture profession in America for nearly a century. Transforming people’s lives through the beauty of nature was at the core of his pursuit in improving and “civilizing American society.”

Boston Common, 1634, National Historic Landmark; Boston Landmark

Considered the most historic park in Boston, Boston Common was mentioned in town records as early as 1634. The Common was not designed by Olmsted, but it played a pivotal role in the planning of his Emerald Necklace. It was only logical we start our hike at Boston Common, after all, every visitor strolls down the Common on the way to the Freedom Trail.

The Public Garden, 1839. George Meachum, 1859, National Historic Landmark; Boston Landmark

The Public Garden was born out of the filling of the Back Bay in the nineteenth century. It is a botanical garden with formal flower beds laid out in the French Manner and artificial pond which provides for pleasant Swan Boat rides during the warmer months of the year. On its Arlington Street corner stands Arthur Gilman’s Arlington Street Church, a building worthy of looking at. It has sixteen Tiffany stained glass windows which date from 1898 to 1933.

The Esplanade, 1931, National Register of Historic Places

Once part of the smelly Back Bay, this chunk of land was transformed into a spacious park offering many activities including picnicking, kayaking, sailing, outdoor concerts and movies at the Hatch Shell. The Esplanade Association is in charge of restoring, maintaining and preserving this wonderful park.

Commonwealth Avenue Mall, begun in 1858 and continued as the Back Bay was filled in, Boston Landmark

Commonwealth Avenue Mall was America’s answer to the grand boulevards of Paris. The Mall is lined with American and English elms as well as magnolias and dotted with sculptures of noted public figures including Alexander Hamilton, William Lloyd Garrison, Phyllis Wheatley and others.

Charlesgate, Frederick Law Olmsted, 1870’s

Olmsted had intended for a grand picturesque landscape here, but as Michael and Susan Southworth of the AIA Guide to Boston write “Charlesgate is the tragedy of the Emerald Necklace.” I hope to see this landscape restore to Olmsted’s original vision in my lifetime.

Apologies for the lack of images of Charlesgate, I will take some the next time I am at the Museum of Fine Arts, but the landscape does not reflect what Olmsted intended.

Back Bay Fens, Frederick Law Olmsted, 1879, National Register of Historic Places; Boston Landmark

A fine example of the English nineteenth century romantic landscape movement.  To some extent, Olmsted original vision has been altered and rose gardens were added along with a baseball field and a war memorial, but the Emerald Necklace Conservancy has been diligently working to restore the plantings and conserve this magical park for centuries to come. Among the architectural and cultural gems along the Back Bay Fens are H.H. Richardson’s “muscular” bridge, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, the Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children, the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and galleries at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

The Riverway and Olmsted Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, 1881, National Register of Historic Places; Boston Landmark

This park is currently undergoing major restoration by the Conservancy. The Riverway originally linked Olmsted Park to Jamaica Pond, but a segment was destroyed for commercial purposes thereby interrupting the “flow” of Olmsted’s interconnecting system of parks.

Jamaica Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, 1892, National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Landmark, Boston Landmark

Jamaica Park will always hold a special place in my heart because on our hike along the Emerald Necklace, my friend Cristy and I stopped to catch our breath, admire the beauty of the lake and watch people fish and jog. We were so taken aback by the park’s beauty that I left my camera on a bench only to realize that I had done so 45 minutes later. In short, I did not find my camera but frantically asked everyone I came across at the park if they had seen it. I left my business card with a few people and continued our hike as if nothing had ever happened. Later that night, I received an email from the Jamaica Pond Boat House letting me know that my camera had been found! Joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stickney and Austin’s Boathouse is a National Historic Landmark and you may read more about these two architects by following these links: here and here (sorry, I don’t remember if I corrected the posts after getting my paper back from the professor). I had the pleasure of conducting extensive research on these two architects for a seminar on Boston Architecture and Planning at Boston University with the wonderful Professor Keith Morgan.

Arnold Arboretum, Charles Sprague Sargent and Frederick Law Olmsted, 1872, National Historic Landmark

One of the most beautiful parks in the city, the Arnold Arboretum is also one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious arboreta. Its collection includes more than 15,000 trees, shrubs, and vines collected from around the world and is one of the best preserved of Olmsted’s landscapes. Every Spring the Arboretum hosts Lilac Sunday, andevent that celebrates the more than 377 lilac bushes in its collection. THE FOLLOWING IMAGES HAVE NOT BEEN PHOTOSHOPPED! YES IT GETS THIS BRIGHT IN THE FALL.

Franklin Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, 1885, National Register of Historic Places, Boston Landmark

The crowning jewel of the Emerald Necklace, Franklin Park is a 520-acre masterpiece that combined “vast rustic scenery with H. H. Richardson’s architecture, Daniel Chester French sculpture, sheep to trim the grass, and a dairy for healthful refreshments.” Its design was influenced by Joseph Paxton’s “People’s Park” at Birkenhead in England. Today, most of the architecture at Franklin Park is now ruins and parts of it have been altered and replaced with a golf course, tennis courts, baseball fields and Franklin Park Zoo. I love the micro environments that Olmsted created at Franklin Park. They make me feel as if I’ve stepped from one landscape into a completely different one. I love going for jogs in and around Franklin Park, it feels as if the city is hundreds of miles away.

Walking the Emerald Necklace, I learned that the best way to continue preserving this inspiring landscape is to nominate it as a World Heritage Site. Why isn’t this system of parks already a World Heritage Site? I’m not sure of an answer, but I believe it should be!

Summer 2011 – The Potential “Death” of Modernism

UPDATE: THE WHEATLEY SCHOOL WAS DEMOLISHED ON JUNE 17, 2011.

 

This past March I blogged about the Phyllis Wheatley School in New Orleans which is under the threat of demolition. I feel compelled to share a wonderful short documentary by Evan Mather which highlights the architectural and cultural significance of the Wheatley School, because I care enough about modern architecture to ignore the fact this is a Boston centric blog.

Another important piece of modern architecture under the threat of a possible demolition this summer is Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital for Women in Chicago, IL. If you did not know, there is a connection between Prentice Hospital in Chicago and the city of Boston, in that Goldberg had attended Harvard University and opened a branch of his design office here in 1964. Learn about the architect’s project here in Boston.

Can We Save the Wheatley Elementary School in NOLA?

The Phillis Wheatley Elementary School. 2300 Dumaine St. New Orleans, LA Charles Colbert, architect. Frank Lotz Miller, photographer Idea: The Shaping Force. Photo Source: Flickr regional.modernism. Used under the Creative Commons License.

“If you tear down my school, a part of me dies with it,” were the words of Phyllis Montana-Leblanc before the Historic District Landmarks Commission of New Orleans at a hearing concerning the historic modern Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in New Orleans.

How could one not be emotionally affected upon reading these words? I am always affected upon learning that a historic building that is worth saving, is facing the wrecking ball.

The Phillis Wheatley Elementary School. 2300 Dumaine St. New Orleans,Frank Lotz Miller, photographer Idea: The Shaping Force. Photo Source: Flickr regional.modernism. LA Charles Colbert, architect;

I’ve known of the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School issue for some time now and felt compelled to dedicate a post on this Boston centric blog to shed some light on the issue of modern architecture in New Orleans and throughout the United States. The school was listed on the World Monuments Fund Watch in 2010 and is considered to be one of the top ten most significant Modern buildings in Louisiana.

Modernist buildings are in peril and before we realize, some of the best and most outstanding examples of modern architecture will be lost to demolition. This would just be detrimental to our culture and history.

I signed the petition. Will you JOIN ME?

Can Twitter Save this House?

Copyright © Preservation Massachusetts. Used under the Creative Commons License.

UPDATE: This house has been demolished. We fought a good battle, unfortunately, we lost it. Read more here:

 

In the last few weeks and days, we’ve witnessed the power of Twitter and other social media outlets in spreading democracy to many parts of the world. I didn’t really believe much in Twitter because I didn’t understand how it worked, but now that I do, I believe that Twitter and those who use it have the power to influence people and make change happen.

How cool would it be to use Twitter to not only promote our cultural heritage, but to also save it. Could social media be the next most effective tool in preservation advocacy? Have you ever heard of the power of ten? That is, I get ten friends to give ten dollars towards a cause. Each of those ten friends then asks ten of their friends to give ten dollars towards the same cause. The cycle continues. If you subscribe to my blog could you forward this post to ten of your friends? Who knows, maybe we’ll find someone who is interested in preserving our cultural heritage by halting the demolition of this house:

The house is a 1780 Federal-style house in Dudley, Massachusetts and was home of Abiel “Priest” Williams, who was a minister in Dudley for 32 years. The house is historically and architecturally significant and was once considered “one of the most magnificent dwellings in Federalist Dudley” according to the Dudley Historical Commission. The current owners are willing to sell the house for $1 to anyone willing to relocate it, but if no one buys it, then it will fall to the wrecking ball and that would be really sad. Who do you know that may help save this house? The house was listed in 2010 as one of the Most Endangered Historic Resources in the state of Massachusetts by the statewide preservation organization; Preservation Massachusetts. That says a lot about this resource.

More information here and here and here.

The Harmony of a Square

Boston Squared. The many squares of
Boston, with Copley Square being the most “square like” of them all. Source: Andy Woodruff, Cartogrammar.com

 

To fit together, to join or be in agreement or concord with one another is one definition of harmony. Steen Eiler Rasmussen in Experiencing Architecture refers to architecture as “frozen music,” because it often employs the simple dimensions, scale and proportion that are found in music harmonies. When most of us hear the word harmony, we think ofmusic. While we hear the harmonies in music, Rasmussen articulates that we can only experience them in architecture.

 TO CONTINUE READING THIS POST, PLEASE HEAD OVER TO “THE PLACE OF DREAMS” WHERE I HAVE BEEN INVITED TO CONTRIBUTE TO A SERIES OF POSTS ON HARMONY.

Book Review: Greene & Greene Furniture: Poems of Wood and Light

Greene & Greene Furniture: Poems of Wood and Light
David Mathias
ISBN 978-1-4403-0299-2 $35.00 (Amazon)
Popular Woodworking Books 2010

Rarely do we get an opportunity to look at the details in the furniture and architecture of Charles and Henry Greene from the perspective of a hobbyist woodworker. David Mathias has given us that perspective. Mathias in Greene & Greene Furniture: Poems of Wood and Light transports his readers to an era in America where the creation of objects crafted by hand played a major role in society, particularly in the lives of wealthy clients and their chosen designers.

Allowing for an intimate look into the exquisite furniture and interior woodwork details designed by the Greene Brothers, Mathias examines their work and places the brothers within the broader context of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The movement which emerges out of the English Gothic Revival placed emphasis on hand crafted ornamentation and details, which in turn, as its leaders championed, would create a moral and social change in the world.

The potential of good design in creating a better world (for those who could actually afford the expensive furniture and objects created by hand, because in this sense, the Arts and Crafts Movement was a complete failure) was the driving philosophy behind the Arts and Crafts Movement.

It was this philosophy that drove the work of architects Charles Greene and Henry Greene in Pasadena, California. Influenced by the work of Gustav Stickley and other designers and trends of the time including Japanese design, as well as the works of the critic John Ruskin and the artist William Morris, the furniture created by the Greene Brothers was designed to stand the test of time. Greene & Greene Furniture: Poems of Wood and Light is beautifully illustrated with photographs and architectural drawings, highlighting some of the most breathtaking details in the furniture. The lighting, stained glass, as well as interior and exterior architectural woodwork by Greene and Greene is also discussed in this monograph.

In 2009, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston hosted the exhibition “A New and Native Beauty: The Art and Craft of Greene and Greene” which celebrated the artistic triumphs behind some of the most iconic houses designed by these two architects. The exhibition proved to be an exhilarating journey into the native beauty found in the works of Charles and Henry Greene and was a tremendous success in Boston (at least, I saw the exhibition eight times)! In his first book, David Mathias allows for a more intimate journey into the poems of wood and light “written” in the furniture and architectural woodwork of Charles and Henry Greene.

31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #31 Grand Finale – with a Plea to Mayor Menino

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.

Grand Finale – These two buildings were written in by people who visited my blog during the open poll. Because people feel an emotional connection with these buildings, it is only natural that I include them in the 31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston Series.

About these two buildings: 

Ferdinand Building, Dudley Square, Roxbury, MA 02119

I’ve blogged about this building in Dudley Square before, and if you like you can read my post here.  The Ferdinand Building obviously means the world to the people of Roxbury and it is no surprise to see it in this list. Anyone who has taken a bus out of or into Dudley Square, has witnessed the sad state of decay that this sector of Roxbury has been going through. The last time I blogged about the state of decay in Downtown Crossing, I managed to upset some people, and to this day, that post is one of the most viewed on The Evolving Critic.

Mayor Menino, can we do something about the Ferdinand Building and Dudley Square in general? Can we revitalize the area and inject capital the same way you’re planning on doing with Downtown Crossing? Broken promises, always lead to broken dreams and I do hope that if you plan on getting re-elected, look back to your “Moving Boston Forward” slogan and reconsider the degree to which you have applied it, in particular to many of Boston’s decaying neighborhoods.

Stuff Magazine featured the Ferdinand Building on the cover of their “One Night in Boston” edition. You think that would have been enough to get the ball rolling with Dudley Square?

Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

Guy Lowell, 1907-1909, Additions: Hugh Stubbins and Associates, 1966-1970; The Architects Collaborative, 1976; I.M Pei, 1981, Foster & Partners with Childs Bertman Tseckares, 2008; Tenshin-En Japanese Garden: Kinsaku Nakane with Halvorson Design Group Partnership, 1988.

I think it’s safe to assume that people are referring to the main building of the Museum of Fine Arts, since I doubt that the Art of the Americas wing opening in a few weeks has already carved out a space among the most favorite or beloved buildings in Boston. I love the Museum of Fine Arts and do visit as much as I can, I’m excited for this new wing which promises to transform the way American art has been looked at for centuries.

Photo: Museum of Fine Arts

31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #30

Harrison Gray Otis House, 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114

Charles Bulfinch, 1795-1796

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 Harrison Gray Otis House:

Designed by Charles Bulfinch for Harrison Gray Otis, a Massachusetts senator and third mayor of Boston, the first Harrison Gray Otis House is one of the finest and grandest Federalist houses in the city. The interior was restored to its original state using computer based paint analysis which revealed bright colors in the Adamesque tradition. The house is owned by Historic New England and is open to the public for viewing.

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey

31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #29

The Ray and Maria Stata Center for Computer, Information and Intelligence Sciences, 32 Vassar Stree, Cambridge, MA

Gehry Partners LLP with Cannon Design, 2004, Landscape: Olin Partnership, 2004

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 Ray and Maria Stata Center:

The Stata Center was also considered by the Boston Herald as one of the buildings designed in the last decade that placed Boston on the architectural world map. Designed by Gehry Partners with Cannon Design, the building’s warped metallic surfaces, irregular angles and multicolored façade are all typical Frank Gehry traits.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stata Center

31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #28

Old South Meeting House, Washington Street at Milk Street, Boston, MA 02108

Joshua Blanchard, builder, 1729

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 Old South Meeting Church:

The Old South Meeting House in Downtown Crossing is Boston’s second oldest church after Old North Church in the North End. The Old South Meeting House is said to be one of the first buildings in the city to be saved from the wrecking ball, prior to being saved by ardent preservationists, the Meeting House narrowly escaped the Boston fire of 1872 which burned to the ground many of Downtown Boston’s commercial buildings. It is one of the most historically significant buildings in Boston based on Christopher Wren’s designs.

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey

31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #27

King’s Chapel, 58 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108

Peter Harrison, 1749-1754

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 King’s Chapel:

King’s Chapel is another building that everyone who goes on the Freedom Trail stops in to see its stark white interior. Based on James Gibbs’ St. Martin in the Fields in London, King’s Chapel is one of the city’s finest Georgian Style buildings.

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey

31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #26

Kresge Auditorium, Building W 16, West of Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Eero Saarinen, 1954-1955

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 Kresge Auditorium:

Another Saarinen structure makes the list! Kresge auditorium is a masterpiece of Modern architecture and the state could not have a more elegant structure than Saarinen’s auditorium. The entire weight of the building rests of three points, not only making it an engineering marvel, but also one of the city’s most futuristic looking buildings. The building is situated across from the MIT Chapel also by Saarinen, both are worth a visit.

Truly spectacular.

31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #25

The Opera House, 539 Washington Street, Boston, MA  02108

Thomas Lamb, 1928

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 Opera House:

The Opera House is considered to be one of Boston’s grandest theaters and recently underwent a massive restoration which brought it back to its most glorious nights. The Theatre District in Boston has been the focus of massive revitalization efforts over the years, re-injecting life into this once dilapidated neighborhood of Boston. Most of the theatres are in the process of being restored to their original grandeur thanks in part to investors like Suffolk University and Emerson College.

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey

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.

31 in 31 of Your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #23

Simmons Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 229 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA

Steven Holl with Perry Dean Rogers Partners, 2005

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 Simmons Hall:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of those institutions in the state that boasts of a campus rich in innovative architectural experiements, and Simmons Hall is truly one of those.  This is not only a dormitory for students, but a work of sculpture for the rest of us to ponder its beauty. The play of light as the day ages on the surfaces of Simmons Hall is a feast for the senses. I’ve walked by it at different times of the day and the colors never cease to amaze me. Can you sense how much I like this building? You can take a self-guided Modern architecture tour of the MIT campus and stop by Simmons Halls on your way to Baker House. (There are books on the architecture of Cambridge with a tour for the MIT campus, or stop by the List Visual Art Center and pick up one of their brochures on the great public art collection on the campus).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Simmons Hall, Cambridge. Architect: Steven Holl

31 in 31 of Your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #22

Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, 21 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

Le Corbusier with Sert, Jackson, and Gourley, 1961-1963

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 Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts:

I love that the only building by master architect Le Corbusier in North America made this Favorite Buildings in Boston Series.  The building is dramatic and celebrates the dynamism of concrete and the rounded forms typical of Le Corbusian architecture. One great building to see, admire and learn from.

Photo: Scott Norsworthy on Flickr