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United Shoe Machinery Building

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1929–1930, Parker, Thomas and Rice; 1988, Jung/Brannen. 138–164 Federal St.
  • United Shoe Machinery Building

The United Shoe Machinery (USM) Building is Boston's most prominent Art Deco skyscraper. The twenty-four-story structure rises from a trapezoidal site to a ziggurat mass achieved through multiple setbacks. Recessed windows and spandrels emphasize the vertical thrust of the steel-reinforced piers. Geometric and stylized ornament, both inside and out, signals the jazz age image of this tall office building. The United Shoe Machinery Corporation was formed in 1889, merging the region's three dominant shoe machinery companies. Parker, Thomas and Rice's design for the USM Building exemplifies the 1928 zoning changes in Boston that allowed taller buildings with recessed upper levels. This building's lobby connects with that of its postmodern neighbor, 150 Federal Street (1988, Stubbins Associates).

Writing Credits

Author: 
Keith N. Morgan
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Citation

Keith N. Morgan, "United Shoe Machinery Building", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MA-01-FD12.

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, 68-69.

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