Want to learn more about Boston’s architecture?

Here is a brief overview, complete with comment and photos, of the good, the bad, and the ugly of Boston architecture, from the 1800’s up to today, courtesy of a member of the Architectural Boston forum.

Towards a new Boston style

Boston architecture has reached an impasse. The brutal physical and psychological wounds modernism inflicted on Boston in the 50s and 60s have never healed, and while many modern architects arrogantly refuse to acknowledge the damage done, traditionalists stubbornly prevent architecture from advancing.

A kind of truce was called in recent decades with contextualism. However, contextualism has seemed to run out of steam of late and half-hearted and uninspiring buildings have become the norm.

Here are some thoughts I have had on ways to push Boston architecture forward and cut the Gordian knot between history and innovation that paralyzes so much of Boston’s recent buildings.


Boston is blessed to have what few American cities have: a palette. Most American cities are indistinguishable from one another, but San Francisco has its whites, Santa Fe has its adobe, New York (at least formerly) had its limestone, and Boston has its reds and browns.

Tragically, far too much recent development dilutes Boston’s palette and substitutes colors that would be equally at home in any of the world’s cities. This is not to say that every building has to confirm to this color scheme, after all, Beacon Hill is not all red brick, but the violations serve to enhance the tone rather that detract from it.

The same can not be said for much new construction.

Continue … Towards a new Boston style – Joe Schmoe, Architectural Boston forum

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Updated:  1st Q 2018

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