Tag Archives: Back Bay architecture

Sanctuary in the city

BPL, Todd Van HoosearSource: Todd Van Hoosear

Although Boston isn’t quite there yet, spring is definitely in the air and it is a beautifully sunny day in Boston.  This courtyard in the McKim building of the Boston Public Library (BPL) is one of my favorite places to enjoy in good weather. The BPL courtyard (open to the public) is surrounded by an arcade that reminds me of architecture more often found in Europe than the US and is the perfect place to get away from all the noise and nonsense in one’s life.

Whenever visitors come to Boston, I bring them to the BPL.  It isn’t on a lot of tourists radar but everyone I bring here leaves both impressed and glad they stopped by. If you have time be sure to also walk upstairs to check out the John Singer Sargent’s murals.

Back Bay – Boston

Back Bay is famous for its rows of Victorian homes, which according to wikipedia are considered one of the best-preserved examples of 19th-century urban design in the United States.   The neighborhood’s name refers to when this now trendy part of the city was marsh. Now a shopping, business and residential district, fans of architecture will recognize most of the residential buildings date from the late 19th and early 20th century.

When I first moved into Boston, I lived in the Back Bay and I’ll always consider the neighborhood home.  Below are a series of photographs from Back Bay.

The neighborhood blends the old with the new beautifully.  The photos above are from opposing buildings at the intersection of Newbury Street and Massachusetts Avenue.  The modern building on the left was designed by Frank Gehry in 1989.  By contrast the re-purposed building across the street provides a glimpse of Boston’s past.

When I first moved to Boston the building above which dates back to 1899 was home to Waterstone’s Bookstore and was one of my favorite places to spend time when the weather wasn’t agreeable.  The building is now home to a Montessori school and a restaurant.

Above is a trompe l’oeil to add some interest to what otherwise would be the back of a concrete building that is home to the Boston Architectural College and behind it is the Prudential building which dominates the Back Bay skyline.