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World Trade Center Boston (Commonwealth Pier Five)

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Commonwealth Pier Five
1914, Frank W. Hodgdon, city engineer; 1986, Jung/Brannen. 164 Northern Ave.

The first pier constructed after the City of Boston Port Authority (established 1911) took responsibility for the port away from the state, Commonwealth Pier Five combined maritime, rail, and vehicle transport in one massive facility. Three two-story steel-trussed sheds covered a 440 × 1,500-foot pier, fronted on Northern Avenue by a monumental Beaux-Arts classical granite facade with central triumphal arch. Rail lines (that connected to nearby South Station) entered at the lower level, while a viaduct provided vehicle access above. Once the city's largest woolen warehouse when Boston became the worldwide center of the wool industry in the 1930s, Commonwealth Pier Five initially also served the Hamburg-American Line passenger ships. The Fidelity Corporation purchased Commonwealth Pier Five and commissioned Jung/Brannen to renovate the structure for a conference and exhibition hall, renamed the World Trade Center Boston.

Directly across Northern Avenue, Fidelity and the Drew Corporation developed the brick 426-room Seaport Hotel (1998, The Stubbins Associates, 1 Seaport Lane), designed to provide housing for visitors to the World Trade Center and the nearby Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (SB10). They have since constructed two brick office towers, each more than 500,000 square feet: World Trade Center West (2000, Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott) and World Trade Center East (2002, Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood), flanking the hotel.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "World Trade Center Boston (Commonwealth Pier Five)", [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, 224-225.

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