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600 Memorial Drive (Modern Continental Company) and Pfizer Discovery Technology Center (U.S. Tire Company)

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Modern Continental Company
c. 1920s; c. 1997, Carr Lynch and Sandel; 1923, Frank Norcross; 1995, Dean Tucker Shaw. 620 Memorial Dr.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Set back from Memorial Drive, these two industrial structures from the 1920s were redressed and expanded in a postmodernist mode. At 600 Memorial Drive, a paradigmatic postmodern renovation characterizes this six-story ten-bay structure built on a reinforced concrete frame. The double bay entrance is marked by the original copper canopy trimmed with anthemia, counterpointed by a convex balcony on the fourth floor. Colors are characteristic of the late-twentieth-century style—namely, lime and strawberry punctuated by spandrels of red brick. The sixth story and penthouses are additions.

Built as a warehouse for the U.S. Tire Company, 620 Memorial Drive is now part of Pfizer Global Research and Development. No excess in the postmodern mode has been avoided from the lime-colored hipped roof to the central projecting entrance facade with a segmentally curved pediment. The renovation stripped the building to its concrete frame and added two stories to the original structure, including a checkered brick inset below the upper floor center. The broad windows are marked by grid patterns, their openness belying the closed nature of the operation within.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "600 Memorial Drive (Modern Continental Company) and Pfizer Discovery Technology Center (U.S. Tire Company)", [Cambridge, 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, 295-296.

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