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Virgin Records (Tower Records)

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Tower Records
1918, Arthur Bowditch; 1987, Frank Gehry with Schwartz/Silver Architects. 360 Newbury St.
  • Virgin Records (Tower Records) (Keith Morgan)

Frank Gehry succeeded in transforming an ordinary, concrete-frame and buff brick warehouse into an extraordinary commercial structure whose new roofline features diagonal metal struts projecting upward—a counterbalance to the weighty steel brackets protruding from the second story to form a canopy over the street level. A key location on Massachusetts Avenue, flanking the turnpike and a point for subway and bus transport, the building's site is replete with disparate elements favored by Gehry. Even more dramatic is the view from the southeast. The gridded gray lead panels evoke the rational frame of the warehouse building and are perfectly attuned to the minimal aesthetic of the largest record/CD/cassette tape store in New England and the loftlike spaces within, maintaining the skeleton of the old structure. Gehry's masterful design injected a new vitality into the building and its site while paying homage to its original function.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Virgin Records (Tower Records)", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 179-179.

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