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101 Arch Street

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1989, Hoskins Scott Taylor and Partners.
  • 101 Arch Street (Keith Morgan)

A poster child for postmodernism, 101 Arch Street plays the contextual game badly. The base of the building incorporates the four-story Kennedy's Store (1873–1874, Emerson and Fehmer, 26–38 Summer Street), one of the finest surviving brick commercial buildings from the rapid rebuilding of the business district following the Great Boston Fire of 1872. Set back so that it is not immediately visible from Summer Street, a twenty-one-story tower rises above the block. The colors of the tower, clad in rose granite with green spandrels, epitomize the palette of its moment. The massing of the tower ends in peaked pediments with clocks facing Summer and Arch streets and a pointless balcony, a visual quotation from Michael Graves's Humana Building in Louisville. If these are not the restrained forms and tones of modernism, they also have no relation to the nineteenth-century buildings at the base. Entering from Bussey Place, one finds a five-story glass-covered atrium with the exterior walls of Victorian buildings to the sides and a wrought-iron spiral staircase. Escalators ascend to the second-level lobby and descend to underground passages to the MBTA's Downtown Crossing station, providing a useful interior public space.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "101 Arch Street", [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, 63-63.

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