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Law School Quadrangle

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1533–1545 Massachusetts Ave.

The late-nineteenth-century expansion of the Law School necessitated the construction of Hastings Hall (1888, NRD/LHD) to provide more dormitory space for law and later other graduate students. Cabot and Chandler produced a restrained Queen Anne Revival design in gold brick with terra-cotta and brownstone trim. Hastings Hall is interesting for what it was not—not a Richardsonian Romanesque design, even though this style was prevalent in campus architecture across the United States during the late 1880s, and not a Georgian Revival design, a trend that would flower on the Harvard campus at the end of the decade. Its sedate, vaguely English qualities mark it as typical of Boston architecture of this era.

Erected as the Law Faculty Office Building, Griswold Hall (1967–1968) features brick-and-concrete walls that harmonize quietly with its neighbors. Benjamin Thompson succeeded in organizing the space that was created behind Hastings and Austin (NY4) halls by opening Griswold Hall onto that courtyard.

Dominating the complex, the imperial facade of Langdell Hall (1906), the Law School library by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, represents a recurring approach taken in turn-of-the-century architecture in Boston and the United States. Such monumental classicism, however, was considered acceptable only when applied to the most important of buildings—such as the Harvard Medical School (FL21) in 1903–1906, also by the Shepley firm, or the new Museum of Fine Arts (FL12) in 1907–1909, by Guy Lowell. The design for Langdell Hall was intended to establish a different tone for the Law School from that of Harvard Yard, a tone that was majestic rather than familiar. Yet the majesty to which Langdell Hall aspired was never fully realized. With its grand colonnade, it wants to preside over a larger complex of similar classical buildings, and without them, it has always seemed somewhat adrift.

Returning to the architectural forms of Austin Hall at the south end of the Law School Quadrangle, Hauser Hall (1994, Kallman, McKinnell and Wood, 1575 Massachusetts Avenue) engages the Richardsonian Romanesque in a six-story building for faculty offices that closes the north end of the complex. The broad-arched entrance, the red brick walls with checkerboard stone patterning, the molded brick window surrounds, and other details all recall Richardson's two buildings for Harvard.

Writing Credits

Maureen Meister


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Maureen Meister, "Law School Quadrangle", [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, 325-325.

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