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Mechanical Plant

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1976, Hugh Stubbins and Rex Allen Partnership. Albany St. between Springfield and Concord sts.
  • Mechanical Plant (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

Spanning Massachusetts Avenue, the clearly articulated precast-concrete structure of the Ambulatory Care Center is riveted with metal panels. Its horizontality is further stressed by long, narrow bands of windows. Two pairs of circular openings enhance the building's geometry while serving as ventilation ducts. A driveway, bordered by two air shafts disguised as mounds, leads to more amenable glass-enclosed lobbies and meeting rooms. Connected across Massachusetts Avenue, a concrete tower for staff housing balances the horizontal forms of the outpatient core.

Built to provide the mechanical system for hospital buildings in the area, the handsome facility on Albany Street exemplifies modern tenets at their most powerful. White aluminum panels, juxtaposed to a large gridded-glass triangular pyramid on one side, are countered by a transparent facade revealing service ducts and tubes winding through the building—almost a metaphor for the technological aspects of modern medicine.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Mechanical Plant", [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, 141-142.

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