Boston Architecture

This paper discusses two Boston architecture sites: Trinity Church and the John Hancock skyscraper in Copley Square.

The paper explains that Trinity Church (1876) remains a historical wonder of religion and beauty, but the John Hancock skyscraper is both aesthetically unpleasant and structurally unsound. The author points out that the Trinity Church heralded the signature “Richardsonian Romanesque” style of its celebrated designer, H. H. Richardson, and presented a bold, fresh, new face and feeling for ecclesiastical architecture in America. The paper relates that neighboring the Trinity Church is the modern minimalist John Hancock skyscraper (1976), by far the tallest building in all of Boston, with a facade of blue reflective glass that makes it look like a giant test tube, a bizarre juxtaposition in style and purpose.
“The original Trinity Church in Boston was built by John Indicott in the 1700’s. However, in 1860 the Vestry voted to move the church to a new location. In January of 1872, a 24,800 square foot plot of land was purchased in Boston, having been carefully chosen as the site for the church, and soon after committee meetings began to review architectural plans for the building. Gambrill and Richardson, a firm of H. H. Richardson, was commissioned to design the church. Additional funds were set aside for the building, allowing an additional plot of land to be purchased, adding nearly 15,000 feet to the original plan. The church is surrounded on all sides by streets, not other buildings that would restrict the view of the church. In April of 1873, engineers began driving wooden pilings, most of which were completed from July to September of this year. However, the Vestry became discouraged by the building cost estimates ranging from a soaring $355,000 to $640,000 and they halted work on the building until Richardson revised his plans, capping off the new estimates around $400,000. In November of 1876, the building was finally complete, and it was paid in full by February of 1877.”