One Bowdoin Square may be deemed a facade masquerading as a theory. Although the starting point was a late-nineteenth-century steel-frame building, it is now hidden behind the present eleven-story brick and polished pink and gray granite street elevation. Here is the classic Sullivanian tripartite tall-office-building division—base, shaft, and capital—with a certain flamboyance concentrated on the ground and cornice levels and the main body largely devoted to straightforward, subtly molded fenestration. However, it is the entrance design that may be most controversial—the Robert Venturi–inspired ironic quotation, quite overbearing for its site but somewhat relieved by a forecourt—a green space dedicated to Richard Cardinal Cushing, Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston from 1944 to 1970. The handsome Telephone Company Building sits to the east, a fine example of Art Deco commercial architecture in limestone with cast-bronze ornament, built on the sites of the colonial bowling green and of Charles Bulfinch's boyhood home.
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1 Bowdoin Square
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