PHOTOS: Historic New England Open House Day: The Gedney House and Phillips House

Gedney House

Gedney House

Every year in June Historic New England opens the doors of its many historic houses to the public. This year I went to Salem, MA to visit the Gedney House (1665) and the Phillips House (1821). Below are some images of both houses.

Gedney House

Gedney House

DSCN3947

Phillips House

Phillips House

Phillips House

Phillips House

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.

The City is My Inspiration

Where do you get your ideas from?

This is my first #LETSBLOGOFF  Topic!

The things I've seen and continue to inspire me (yes, that includes sneakers)!

To say that one’s ideas are all original is a bit of an exaggeration. We cannot possibly deny the influence of others on our work and our creativity.

I get my ideas from walking the streets of a city. I’m inspired by architecture, urban decay, parks, flowers, sidewalk patterns, fashion and museums, you name it! I’m inspired by community organizers and grassroots activists who go the extra mile to create change for those who need it most. I’m inspired by people who are passionate about about a subject, an object, a person (no, I am NOT talking threesome here) or a place and will share that passion with others, regardless of who they are.

The city inspires me. Its museums open a world of infinite possibilities never thought possible. Its parks and squares re-energize my senses and ground my thoughts and feelings. Its neighborhoods allow me to appreciate the richness of our cultural diversity and differences in opinions. Its people emphasize my interest in fashion and its parallels with architecture and design.

There are so many things that inspire me about a city that I could write a book, but I much rather let you explore it on your own terms.

Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you?

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.

31 in 31 of Your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #19

Fenway Park, 4 Yawkey Way Boston, MA 02215

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 Fenway Park:

Who doesn’t love Fenway Park? Actually, I’m not crazy about it.  While many cities have demolished their Major League Baseball facitlities to build new and bigger ones, Boston’s has adhered to its strong preservation values and now claims the oldest facility in the MLB.  Fenway Park has gone through many additions and alterations in its almost 100 years of existence, just recently a multi-million dollar upgrade was completed which added more seating and amenities for those die hard Red Sox fans.

Photo: The Hudson Group Gallery

 

31 in 31 of Your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #14

Baker House, Building W 7, Memorial Drive

Alvar Aalto with Perry Dean Shaw and Hepburn, 1947-1949

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 Baker House:

The first time I ever stepped foot inside Baker House at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I was blown away. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm for the building, especially since I knew that everything in it is ergonomically designed, from the furniture to the handrails. Everything about Baker House is perfect, from its undulating façade which mimics the flow of the Charles River to the interior lighting. I’ve heard from many people that this is one of the most coveted dormitories at MIT and those who live there choose to live there year after year until they graduate. Now THAT says alot about a building.

Have you ever been inside a building which makes you feel “human” or that speaks to everyone of your senses? If so, which building (it doesn’t matter if it is not in Boston)?

Baker House

Baker House Model, photo: libraries.mit.edu/archives

MIT seniors in Baker House dormitory room, ca. 1949. Photo: libraries.mit.edu/archives

31 in 31 of Your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #13

The Gropius House, 68 Baker Bridge Road, Lincoln, MA 01773

Walter Gropius, 1938

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 Gropius House:

A Modernism gem in New England, the Gropius House is owned by Historic New England and open to the public for viewing. Designed by Walter Gropius, founder and director of the Bauhaus, one of the most influential design schools in the world, the house is also furnished with furniture designed by Marcel Breuer, Saarinen, Aalto and Marianne Brandt among others. I visited the house last fall and blogged about it, you can read my post here.

I think it was because of my interaction with the Gropius House, I have developed a passion for Modernist buildings worldwide. Is there a building or a house out there that has inspired you or changed your life? If so, which one? I’d love to see it and learn more about it!

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey

Guest Blog Entry – A New and Native Architecture: Charles and Henry Greene and their Years in Boston

Robert Pitcairn house, 1906, Pasadena, CA. Charles & Henry Greene. Photo taken by David Mathias.

Modernism, specifically the International School, divorced architecture from regional identity.  Buildings should, proponents argued, be universal and primarily functional.  The movement was, and is, hugely successful, in theory and in practice.  And with modernism in its tenth decade, it can be easy to forget that not so long ago regional styles were vitally important.  The shingled homes of the New England coast.  The Spanish missions of California.  The agricultural manors of the South.

The Greene Brothers - Charles Sumner Greene (top) & Henry Mather Greene (bottom). Image source: The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Click on this image for an online version of the exhibition "A New and Native Beauty" which traveled to Boston (July 14 - October 19, 2009).

At the dawn of the 20th century, Pasadena architects Charles & Henry Greene developed a new regional style based on the climate and environment of their adopted home.  “A wooden style built woodenly,” that blurs the distinction between indoors and out, the California bungalow is certainly of that place.  A synthesis of Arts & Crafts and Asian influences with a casual California sensibility, it could not have developed anywhere else.

Thus, it may be surprising that Greene & Greene were not Californians.  Nor were they from a warm climate.  They were born in Cincinnati, raised in St. Louis and educated in Boston.  Yes, Boston.  America’s answer to Old World civilization.  The birthplace of the Revolution.  Home of the Brahmins.  It was in this world that Charles & Henry Greene acquired the skills that would enable them to develop the quintessential west-coast style.

In September 1888, Charles Greene, aged 19, and his brother Henry, aged 18, left their comfortable home in St. Louis for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where they enrolled in the Partial Course in architecture.  The Partial Course, a two-year program, was significantly more popular, at that time, than the four-year course of study.  Both boys were well prepared due to their education at the Manual Training School of Washington University, a high school program offering traditional academic subjects in addition to shop training in wood and metal.

Trinity Church in Copley Square, 1872-1877, H.H. Richardson's first architectural masterpiece

Boston’s Copley Square was an imposing place in 1888.  In addition to the academic building in which Charles and Henry spent considerable time, the square boasted the Museum of Fine Arts, Trinity Church and the embryonic Boston Public Library.  Thus, the young Greenes had front row seats to observe a classic by H. H. Richardson and to witness the birth of a significant project by McKim, Mead and White.  That is quite an education exclusive of the classroom.

Henry Hobson Richardson was, prior to his death in 1886 at age 47, a prominent American architect.  He studied at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts though his own preferences tended toward the English Arts & Crafts and the Richardson Romanesque he created.  Due to the makeup of the faculty, MIT offered, at that time, a very traditional Beaux-Arts curriculum.  Charles Greene bristled at the highly formal, traditional coursework.  By contrast, the exquisite Arts & Crafts interior of Trinity Church must have seemed very refreshing.

MIT students had easy and free access to another Copley Square institution, the Museum of Fine Arts.  Significant among the museum’s collections was a substantial assortment of Japanese art and artifacts.  Additionally, Charles and Henry visited the East India Marine Society Museum in Salem, home to an impressive collection of Japanese objects.  Though the Greenes would subsequently be exposed to Japanese architecture at the 1893 and 1904 World’s Fairs, this early encounter no doubt opened their eyes to a new aesthetic, one that would be pivotal in their careers.

An excellent example of the Shingle Style is the Mary Fiske Stoughton House, 90 Brattle Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Built 1883; architect H. H. Richardson. Expanded in 1900 by John Fiske. Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Survey number HABS MA-1033.

Even wooden shingles and shakes, an element heavily identified with Greene & Greene houses, can be traced to the brothers’ time in Boston.  Charles and Henry frequented Nantucket during Summers, where surely they would have encountered the ubiquitous shingle style.  Later, during internships, both Greenes gained further experience with the style.  Charles worked at Andrews, Jaques and Rantoul while Roughwood, a large residential commission clad in shingles, was being constructed in Brookline.  Charles later worked for Herbert Langford Warren who sometimes employed the shingle style.  Henry worked for a time for Frederick W. Stickney, a master in the use of shingles, who is responsible for the Kennebunk River Club.

It is worth noting that in addition to direct influence, H. H. Richardson had a significant indirect impact on Greene & Greene.  Virtually every architect with whom they worked during their post-MIT time in and around Boston, had significant ties to Richardson.  Not surprising since his legacy figured large in the Boston architectural scene for quite some time.

In 1893, Charles and Henry Greene moved to Pasadena, California to be with their parents who had relocated there with the hope of improving Mrs. Greene’s health and the family’s financial prospects.  Greene & Greene, Architects was established in 1894.  Despite the fact that most of the groundwork had already been laid for the firm’s signature style, that style didn’t begin to emerge for nearly a decade.  During the interim, their designs were eclectic as they learned about the alien environment and searched for their own voice.  They, of course, had other exposure to the Arts & Crafts, Asian forms and the use of wooden shingles but their five years in Boston, when they were quite young, established the foundation for the “new and native architecture” that constitutes their legacy today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David Mathias is an author and photographer with a background in computer science. He was educated at the University of Delaware (B.S.) and Washington University in St. Louis (M.S., D.Sc.). He was a college instructor for fourteen years before abandoning computer science, academia and a paycheck for the full-time pursuit of writing. David has published articles in Popular Woodworking, Woodwork, Style 1900 and American Bungalow.  His first book, Greene & Greene Furniture – Poems of Wood & Light is an examination of the houses and furniture of Charles and Henry Greene. You can learn more about David and his research on the furniture and houses of the Greene Brothers by visiting his website and blog. David’s book can be purchased through his website or through any bookstore or online dealers.

Back to the Past: The Hamilton House

During my New Hampshire vacation, my friend (who hosted me for the week) and I took a drive to South Berwick, ME to visit yet another historic house!

This time, we traveled back to the 18th century to visit the Hamilton House, a National Historic Landmark built around 1785 by shipping merchant Jonathan Hamilton. One of the most striking features of this stunning Georgian house is the breathtaking views of the Salmon Falls River as well as its colorful period garden. 

To learn more about the Hamilton House which is owned by Historic New England and is open to the public for viewing click here.

H.H. Richardson and the Arts and Crafts Connection in New Hampshire

Ever since taking my first architectural history survey at the University of New Hampshire, I became fascinated with the Arts and Crafts Movement and the architecture of Henry Hobson Richardson.  I wrote my first paper ever, in any architectural history class on the libraries of H.H. Richardson and I am a docent at Trinity Church, one of Richardson’s masterpieces.  What’s the connection between the Arts and Crafts Movement, H.H. Richardson and New Hampshire, you might be wondering?

See, every summer I’ve made it a goal of mine to explore a historic house in the New England region and learn as much as I can from my visit. The past few summers, I’ve gone to Salem, MA, Newport, RI and most recently, New Canaan, CT to visit the Philip Johnson Glass House. This summer, I traveled to New Hampshire and visited Lucknow or “Castle in the Clouds,” a 16 room Arts and Crafts Mansion situated atop one of New Hampshire’s mountains overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee.

Located a short driving distance from Wolfeboro, one of America’s oldest resort towns, to experience the architecture of “Castle in the Clouds” visitors must take a trolley from the Carriage House to the peak of the mountain.  At the sight of the Carriage House, I immediately started recalling certain characteristics of Richardson’s architecture and began drawing connections between the architecture of the Carriage House and Richardson’s buildings, most notably the estate for Robert Treat Paine in Waltham, MA.

Lucknow, completed in 1913-14 was the home of Thomas Plant (1859-1941), a businessman with very strong connections to Boston.  There is no doubt in my mind that Plant was exposed to the architecture of Richardson, not only those buildings in Boston, but in the suburbs as well. Thomas Plant made his fortune in the shoe manufacturing industry in Massachusetts and retired a millionaire at age fifty-one. Mr. Plant was allegedly the architect of Lucknow (one of the tour guides mentioned that his brother was the architect and that Thomas Plant himself had control over the drawings, but Thomas took the title of architect. Oh the gossip!) and the Richardsonian influences could not have any less visible. From the bold massing and the harmonious integration of  the building with its surrounding landscape to the “eyelid or eyebrow” windows made famous by Richardson and later architects, Mr. Thomas Plant was without a doubt influenced by Richardson as well as the ideas behind the American Arts and Crafts Movement.

The Arts and Crafts Movement (1830-1870) springs out of the Gothic Revival in England by emphasizing a strict design morality(1) and rebelling against the often uninspiring machine made objects by placing emphasis on hand crafted ornamentation and details. Spearheaded by artists and theorists like William Morris and John Ruskin, who collectively with their art and writings became the driving force that integrated social and moral ideologies into the art and architecture that was produced in America beginning in Richardson’s  time. To decorate his mansion, Mr. Thomas Plant commissioned the best artists and craftsmen working in the Arts and Crafts Movement in America. The glasswork found in the mansion was commissioned to Louis Comfort Tiffany, lighting by the Edward F. Caldwell Company of New York and custom woodwork and furnishings by A.H Davenport/Irving and Casson of Boston, Richardson’s furniture maker.

The prestigious furniture makers and carvers at A.H. Davenport and Company(2) who later in 1916 merged with Irving and Casson executed most of Richardson’s furniture commissions including the Court of Appeals in Albany, New York, the Crane Library in Quincy, Massachusetts, the Billings Library in Burlington, Vermont and the Converse Library in Malden (3).  A.H Davenport became one of the largest and most prosperous furniture makers of the time after purchasing The Boston Furniture Company in 1880. Albert Henry Davenport himself had been the bookkeeper at Boston Furniture Company until 1866 (4). Known for their exquisite craftsmanship and attention to the most inconspicuous details, Davenport and Company went on to make furniture for the mansions of the wealthy residents of the Back Bay, the White House under President Roosevelt and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City (5). The woodwork and furnishings at Lucknow are impressive and harmonize beautifully with the exposed joints  of the architecture.

Richardson died prematurely at the age of 48 (died in 1886) and did not live to see the tremendous influence his architecture had in America, Canada and Northern European countries.  The breathtaking mansion of Lucknow or “Castle in the Clouds” is a testament to the power of Richardson’s architecture and the exquisite craftmanship of A.H. Davenport/Irving and Casson masters of the Arts and Crafts Movement in America.

H.H. Richardson's Stonehurst; The Robert Treat Paine Estate in Waltham, MA

I’ve conducted an extensive research on Richardson’s furniture which culminated in a talk at one of his most ornate buildings. Perhaps, I can write a small post on the furniture of H.H. Richardson for all of you to enjoy. As long as you all want me of course!


1 Elizabeth Cumming and Wendy Kaplan, The Arts and Crafts Movement (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1991) 14
2 Marian Page, Furniture Designed by Architects (New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1984) 68
3  Anne Farnam, “A.H. Davenport and Company, Boston Furniture Makers” Antiques 1055
4 Anne Farnam.  Antiques
5 Anne Farnam, “A.H. Davenport and Company, Boston Furniture Makers” Antiques 1048

Primary Colors

The more I explore Boston the more I’m noticing patterns and trends in new architecture, such as the use of bold primary colors on the exterior of buildings. The example below is the Orchard Gardens Pilot School in Roxbury. Completed in 2003 by the Boston architects Todd Lee of TLCR Architecture and David Lee of Stull and Lee, the Orchard Gardens Pilot School was selected among the top 10 new buildings of the last decade by the Boston Herald for breaking away from the “puritanism” observed in much of the city’s architecture. I think it’s a stunning building and adds a punch of color to this area of Roxbury. 

New York City vs. Boston

The Macallen Building, South Boston, Architect: Office dA

Recently, the Boston Herald published a list of the top ten best new buildings of the decade in the city. These buildings break away from the typical brick and brownstone architecture that canvas most of Boston. Architecturally speaking, Boston has yet to distance itself from the puritanical and conservative ideals deeply rooted in its history. Looking at the past for architectural inspiration has allowed Boston to achieve limited freedom in creativity.  The buildings on the list have been praised for pushing Boston out of its conservative architectural envelope and redefined the world class city that it is!

The Macallen Building, South Boston. Architect: Office dA

Boston has never been able to get out of the shadows of New York City and the list proves that the rivalry between these two world class cities is alive and stronger than ever. It is not a secret how much Yankee fans and Red Sox fans love each other. They can barely wait for baseball season to begin to call each other names and brag about which team has won the most World Series. Wait, what am I talking about?! These fans will harrass each other regardless whether is baseball season or not. If you ask me to chose a team, I prefer the Red Sox, but if you ask my brother, he prefers the Yankees! One can never win. This love hate relationship between these two cities is captured in the list of the top ten best new buildings in Boston. By my count, Boston wins with 5 Boston/Cambridge architectural firms making a name for themselves, while placing the city at the forefront of the architecture world.

The WGBH Headquarter Building, Brighton. Architect: Polshek Partnership

Office dA, one of my favorite Boston firms makes the list with the Macallen Building in South Boston. Considered one of the first LEED-certified, environmentally conscious multi-housing buildings in the state of Massachusetts, the Macallen Building stands out for all the right reasons and the city is a much better place because of it.  The building was recently honored by the American Society of Landscape Architects with a 2009 Professional Design Award. The partners at Office dA, Monica Ponce de Leon and Nader Tehrani proved that Boston possesses the talent and genius to award architectural commissions to local firms, instead of inviting architects from Los Angeles, New York City or from abroad to leave their imprint on the city.

The Boston Convention and Visitor Center, South Boston. Architect: Rafael Viñoly

Among the New York City firms on the  Herald’s list include Rafael Viñoly for his design of the Boston Convention and Visitor Center in South Boston, Diller Scofidio + Renfro for the boxy Institute of Contemporary Art also in South Boston and Polshek Partnership for the WGBH Building in Brighton. And yes, I do prefer the Boston architects over New York because they are excellent examples of what our local talent is capable of producing, but the New York architects (and I hate to say this), placed Boston on the international map this past decade with buildings like the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Boston Convention and Visitor Center.

The Institute of Contemporary Art, South Boston. Architect: diller scofidio + renfro

Although New York pushed the architectural envelope in Boston, the building that always captivates me is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Stata Center by the Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry. To borrow a word used recently by the Chicago Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert in his critique of Broken Embraces by Pedro Almodovar,  Gehry’s 2004 Stata Center is a “voluptuary” of a building. Its textures, materials, colors, and soft sexy curves punctuated by geometric shapes and hard edges are a reflection of yours truly. No, not in the soft sexy curves (in case you wanted to know), but in the multitude of colors and textures that make up my daily wardrobe! The Stata Center is a building that keeps me engage, it makes me feel like a kid in a candy store, excited and hyper, waiting to indulge my senses in all the sugar. It makes me want to hug every one of its shiny surfaces and scream to the world the audacious and bold step Boston has taken forward with this building.

In all fairness, New York architects have been dramatically influencing the architectural fabric of Boston for decades. The prestigious firm of Carrere and Hastings, McKim, Mead and White and even H.H. Richardson have all left their mark in Boston, designing buildings like the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church, which have served as sources for countless other buildings around the country. The New York architectural firms who left their mark in Boston this past decade have broken the barriers of creativity in Boston!

As groundbreaking as any of these buildings were during the last decade, there were two other notable buildings that did not make the list, but which deserved to be mentioned in this post. So here I go, take note.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stata Center, Cambridge. Architect: Frank Gehry

Simmons Hall at MIT by Steven Holl, one of my favorite New York firms, stands out for being a building that belongs in New York or Los Angeles and not in Boston.  It breaks away from the puritanical and conservative ideals associated with Boston architecture, adding a funky, cool sophisticated feeling to the fabric of Massachusetts.

The other building that deserved to be listed is the Allston Branch of the Boston Public Library, designed by the Boston architects of Machado and Silvetti. Distancing themselves from the brick so typical of Boston architecture, Machado and Silvetti incorporate slate sculpings and slate shingles with glass and various other rich textures creating a visually enticing building in one of Boston’s most culturally diverse neighborhoods.

To see other buildings on the list, click on the link above and let me know which ones you think deserved to be listed and which ones were omitted!

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