You are here

176–178 Commonwealth Avenue

-A A +A
1883, Charles Atwood.

If other architects were so frustrated by postfire building code restrictions as to abandon the design of related, rather than replicative, adjacent houses, Charles Atwood rose to the challenge with invention, vigor, and aplomb. Its rustication creeping up the outer edges of the facade, a projecting arcade of rockfaced brownstone spans the elevation. Low-sprung arches provide deep shelter to three entrances (placed unusually at grade level), of which one originally opened to an independent suite, probably used as a doctor's office. An angled bay at the left and a cylindrical turret at the right engage the arcade at their apex point. Culminating in a conical roof, the turret is balanced to the left by a curly gable of Flemish derivation, further bracketed by a pair of octagonally capped dormers, each centered on the vertical oval windows of the floor below. Atwood even contrives to make a virtue of the mandated party-wall parapet, expressing it as crow steps to complement the differing geometries of the gable and turret.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.