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Hotel Vendome

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1871, William Gibbons Preston; 1881, Ober and Rand; 1975, Stahl/Bennett. 160 Commonwealth Ave.
  • Hotel Vendome (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

A battered but proud survivor of the Gilded Age, the former Hotel Vendome (now comdominiums), which originally catered to transients, spreads its luminous white marble bulk over more than a third of the block between Dartmouth and Exeter streets. Its original section at the corner, designed by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts-trained William Gibbons Preston, exemplifies the Second Empire style in its fusion of sobriety and Néo-Grec ornament. Expanding the building westward in 1881 to more than double its former size, architects Ober and Rand added a surfeit of bays and balustrades, further enriching its monumentality. Although the mansard's pavilions were altered following a devastating 1972 fire during the building's conversion to condominiums, they remain a dominant presence on the streetscape.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan

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