Some Highlights of Preservation Month in Boston

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May is National Preservation Month and this year’s events in the Boston-area include quite a few walking tours and talks on the city’s built environment. The theme of this year’s city-wide event is “Buildings and Grounds” with a keynote speech on May 1st by Lyn Paget at the Taj Boston.

Here are some of the highlights:

2 | FRI | 6:30 to 8:00 PM | FILM
Jane Jacobs In Her Own Words
A film presenting three interviews with Jacobs followed by a discussion with the audience on how the film relates to the West End and the current exhibit at the West End Museum.

West End Museum, 150 Staniford St.
Free and open to the public.

3 | SAT | 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM | TOUR
Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the All Saints Ashmont Restoration Project

Visit Dorchester’s historic Peabody Square for a behind the scenes tour of the restoration project underway at All Saints Ashmont, the highly influential Gothic Revival church designed by noted architect Ralph Adams Cram.

3 | SAT | 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM | WALKING TOUR
Jane Jacobs in the West End: Could her ideas have changed the neighborhood?

To celebrate Jane’s Walk, the West End Museum will lead a tour focusing on Jane Jacob’s ideas and how they could have been implemented in Boston’s West End.

4 | SUN | 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM | WALKING TOUR
A Walk with Mr. Olmsted through the Back Bay Fens

Of course, what’s Preservation Month in the city of Boston without exploring the history of the city’s historic parks. Join Frederick Law Olmsted, as portrayed by Gerry Wright, and an Emerald Necklace docent as they lead a walk through the historic landscape of the Fens.

10 | SAT | 3:00 to 4:30 PM | WALKING TOUR
Modernist Urbanism: Paul Rudolph and Government Center

The New England Chapter of DOCOMOMO and Timothy M. Rohan from UMass Amherst, will lead an architectural walking tour explaining Paul Rudolph’s never fully completed Government Services Center.

11 | SUN | 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM | WALKING TOUR
Historic Gems of the Back Bay Fens

Another walking tour of Boston’s parks. This tour, which is repeated through the month of May, will explore Olmsted’s 19th-Century sanitary improvements as well as the many structures through the parks, including those designed by H.H. Richardson.

15 | THURS | 4:00 PM | WALKING TOUR
Christian Science Church Complex: In and Out of the City

A tour led by Elizabeth Stifel, the staff architect of the Boston Landmarks Commission, of the iconic (mostly) Brutalist complex.

To find out all the events coming up, click here. 

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.”-

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”.

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!”

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

Boston’s Oldest Remaining Fire House Gets a Facelift

The Eustis Street Firehouse in the Summer of 2010. Photo Credit: Anulfo Baez.

Boston’s oldest remaining fire house; the Eustis Street Fire House in Roxbury has been fully restored and is now the headquarters for Historic Boston Incorporated. Built in 1859, the 2 ½ story, brick Italianate Style building was designed by the Roxbury architect John Roulestone Hall. A wood addition was added to the rear in 1869.

The fire house remained vacant for more than 40 years, but thanks to the vision of Historic Boston Incorporated, a preservation organization in the city; the building was bought, restored and re-purposed as their headquarters. Not only has this important piece of Boston history been preserved, but it has also been breathing new life to Dudley Square. Let’s hope this is just the beginning in the revitalization efforts of the other “heart” of Boston.

Eustis Street Firehouse in 2011. Photo credit: Boston Fire Historical Society

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.

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.

Review: River Street

Saturday May 1st, Daniel Phillips preparing for the installation of River Street (center)

A site specific installation in Hyde Park by Daniel Phillips, River Street fosters an enriching cross-cultural and multi-generational dialogue between people whose memories are encapsulated in the built environment and “outsiders” like me who might be interested in learning about the architectural, industrial, social and natural history of the site in its present state.

According to Dolores Hayden in The Power of Place, historic places help citizens define their public pasts and trigger social memory through the urban landscape. Hayden investigates the concept of “place memory” through philosopher Edward S. Casey’s formulation, in that place memory “encapsulates the human ability to connect with both the built and natural environments that are entwined in the cultural landscape.”

River Street is installed on the former site of what was until 2004, the oldest operating paper mill in North America. Built on the Hyde Park side of the heavily polluted Neponset River, the history of the Tileston-Hollingsworth Paper Company extends as far back as 1733.

Besides its social and industrial history, the site of the mill complex was architecturally significant until recent years when it succumbed to demolition’s wrecking ball. The firm of W. Cornell Appleton and Frank A. Stearns (Appleton & Stearns), and later members of the illustrious Boston architectural firm of Peabody & Stearns, designed an 1890 “handsome” Georgian Revival office building which is no longer extant. In its present state, the remaining scars resulting from the demolition of the site evoke a sense of loss and nostalgia of an era gone-by.

River Street is a multi channel video projection composed of thousands of photographic stills shot on site by Daniel Phillips. For every one and a half minutes of video, it is estimated that approximately 900 photographs are used to create a time lapse moving image. Each photograph captures the passage of time, the crumbling death of the last remaining buildings on site and the slowly renewing life of the Neponset River Reservation. Projected on the loading bays of a dilapidated water pumping station, River Street triggers our memory by capturing those moments that vanish before our eyes. Moments like ice melting from the branches of trees or the rhythmic flow of the river or the transient life of the graffiti in the area, allow us to visually connect the past with the present.

A collaboration between the artist Daniel Phillips and Finnard Properties; the current owners and developers of the site, this one night installation of River Street was presented in conjunction withthe Boston Cyberarts Festival. The installation on Saturday April 30 attracted many members from the Hyde Park and Dorchester communities. “It was wonderful, breathtaking, unbelievable” says Adrian of Hyde Park, “This is my community, of course I had to be here tonight.”

River Street Tower Still #16, Daniel Phillips, 2010

River Street Tower Still #16, Daniel Phillips, 2010

Get Pumped! Introducing Metropolitan Boston’s Newest Museum

A short walk from the Reservoir Stop on the Riverside Line or Cleveland Circle stop on the MBTA, and located inside a gorgeously restored and rehabilitated Richardsonian Romanesque Pumping Station building, is Metropolitan Boston’s newest museum, the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum which opened on Sunday March 27th, 2011.

Designed by Arthur Vinal “Boston’s last city architect,” and built in 1886-87 and expanded in 1897-98, the High Service Pumping Station was the city’s response to the increased demand for clean water resources, which by 1800’s, like many other cities of its size in America, was rapidly experiencing population growth deeming it unfit to live in. The Great Fire of 1872 pushed city officials to locate other clean water resources outside the city to provide a steady and clean water supply for its citizens. As a result of this “push,” the Metropolitan Waterworks was born, breathing new life to Boston and its citizens.

The museum, primarily located in the Great Engines Hall of the High Service Pumping Station contains three massive pumps that will capture the attention of young and old. Through interactive exhibits and displays of tools and instruments, visitors learn of the social, architectural, and public health history of pumping station and its role in the City of Boston. The engines at the museum, once formed part of the largest reservoir water pumping system in the world!

The Great Engine Hall houses the Leavitt Engine, capable of pumping 20 million gallons of water a day is now considered a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The other two engines are the Worthington Engine, the only horizontal and smallest of all them is capable of pumping 15 million gallons of water a day and the Allis Engine, a massive engine which extends three stories above the operating floor and two stories below it. The engines are in the same location they have been since the High Service Pumping Station began operating.

I spent more than an hour “getting to know” the people behind the extraordinary architectural and engineering marvels of the Metropolitan Waterworks. Paying careful attention to (almost) every breathtaking detail of the three massive engines, I walked away with a deeper appreciation for the engineering works of 19th century Boston. Although steam pumping ended in 1976, the engines at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum allow us to experience an aspect of 19th century life in Boston rarely discussed outside academic circles.

The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum offers guided tours highlighting the history of the landscape and other features of the history of the Chestnut Hill/Reservoir area. Please check the museum’s website or call for more information.

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?

Suffocating Boston’s Public Art

Source: generationsafterboston.org

The Boston Phoenix loves to frown upon EVERYTHING that is good. They blamed The Decemberists for the death of indie rock music and they referred the New England Holocaust Memorial as “a breathtaking banality.” Every year, the Phoenix publishes its “Best of Boston” issue, highlighting the best in everything that is OVERRATED in the city. With the help of Bostonians who vote for the best, I meant “most” (OVERRATED) burger joint, political blog, clothing store, favorite place to get a haircut for men and/or women and so on, Boston’s “alternative” newspaper is anything BUT alternative.

Highlighting everything that is overrated in Boston isn’t enough for The Boston Phoenix of course; they also invite anyone who doesn’t have a single clue about art and architecture to vote in the category for bad public art work. If a newspaper or magazine highlights the “Best of Boston” why not have a category for “Best Public Art Work?” and not the “Best of Bad Public Art?” Why not name the edition “Worst of Boston 2011” instead?

This year, the Best Bad Public Art Work category features, in the words of Chris Millis, works that exude “a breathtaking banality” like the boring, uninspiring and most literal representation of the Irish Famine memorials I have ever seen. The list also features Boston City Hall (a “brutalist” building as public art work, I think the listing instigates more hatred towards a building that is already much maligned among Bostonians) as well as other, once again, uninteresting public art works in Boston. Why not nominate EVERY single public work of art in the city (with the exception of the public art collection at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which is truly spectacular)?

The New England Holocaust Memorial is Boston’s most eloquent and powerful monument. Regardless of one’s race, nationality or creed, one cannot deny all the emotions and thoughts this memorial allows us to experience. Designed by Stanley Saitowitz and dedicated in 1995, the memorial features a long black granite path with six glass towers, allowing visitors to pass through each tower. Each square tower represents the major Nazi concentration camps and six million numbers in total are etched on all four sides of the columns, one for every person killed in the concentration camps. If this wasn’t emotional enough, one walks through each tower surrounded by steam, yes, steam, to further emphasize the horrors of the gas chambers and incinerators during the Holocaust.

The Boston Globe’s architecture critic Robert Campbell considered the memorial a mix bag, “the good news is that the memorial is pretty successful urban design” but it was “…caught between a rock and a hard place:
the huge Boston City Hall on one side and the delicate old Blackstone Block –Boston’s last surviving chunk of 18th-century streetscape – on the other.” Overall, Campbell’s critique referred to the memorial as being over symbolic. This is true, but there are dozens of public art works in Boston that should be also on the list because let’s face it, why are we judging bad public art works in Boston when in the words of Mr. Campbell himself, “we lack a common visual language of public symbols”?

For as long as Boston continues to embrace its puritanical roots and ideals, its architecture and art will continue to suffocate.

Campbell’s quotes are taken from “A Matter of Design: Evaluating Boston’s Holocaust Memorial,” published on November 26, 1995 in The Boston Globe.

Photo Credit: Alice Chan, http://www.pbase.com/aichan/boston

How to Build an Igloo

This winter we have more snow on the ground than we could possibly know what to do with it. The bad news is that it is only February, so I’m sure more snow is on the way.

With all this snow, and more on the way, I think we can all prepare ourselves by watching this short documentary on how to make an igloo. No joke, we may need these skills before Spring arrives considering that Mother Nature keeps covering us with her white blanket. A sense of humor is needed to get through this winter, so here are some videos I came across the other day.

The best thing about building an Igloo is that you don’t have to be an architect to build one.

You can watch the beautiful short film shot in 1949 by Douglas Wilkinson by clicking here: Sorry, somehow I can’t upload this to the post, but it is a classic film.

Since we have so much snow…

What about building the world’s largest igloo? We sure have a TON of snow for that!

I think we DEFINITELY can do this.

And this is cheating, unless he made those blocks from snow that was already on the ground which he then compacted in a box to from blocks.

I wish we could all quit you snow, please follow the link to Youtube! It’s worth it!

And tell me this didn’t make you smile:

When all else fails, just make a snowman or snow angels. I’m still trying to finf my snow angel photos, when I do, I’ll update this post.

 

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.