An improbably successful fusion of Renaissance detail and Queen Anne massing, the John Andrew House commands the northeast corner of Commonwealth Avenue with the fortresslike authority of a Florentine palazzo. A stout limestone base supports the upper floors of buff Roman brick; densely filigreed wrought-iron balconies enrich the elongated windows of the piano nobile. Above a heavy modillioned cornice the high parapet balustrade screens the attic dormers. The vigorous ellipse of the corner turret and the soaring pilastered chimney introduce the asymmetry that holds the entire composition in gratifying tension. Maintained as an MIT fraternity for more than forty years, the building's lavish interior finishes are commendably intact. With McKim, Mead and White's contemporary Villard Mansions in New York City, the John Andrew commission signaled a turn to classicism in the work of this nationally influential firm.
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John Andrew House
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