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George R. White Memorial Building, Massachusetts General Hospital

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1939, Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch and Abbott; 1997, Michael Fieldman Architects. 55 Fruit St.
  • George R. White Memorial Building, Massachusetts General Hospital (Keith Morgan)

This is one of the few distinctive buildings in the vast complex comprising Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The light gray brick structure with its affinities to 1930s International Style functions as the institution's main building. Its convex principal facade is characterized by shafts of windows between narrow vertical piers, providing natural light on the interior and lending an uplifting character to the whole. The simple articulation of the windows on setback walls gives clarity to a structure that is symbolically at the center of the labyrinthine mechanisms of today's medical facility. In 1997, a new off-center entrance of glass and metal panels opened the ground floor for an enlarged reception area and waiting room.

Framing the entrance to the White Pavilion from Cambridge Street stand the Resident Physician's House (9 N. Grove Street) and a recent building it inspired. The hospital established the post of resident physician in 1858 to oversee the expanding activities of the hospital. Carl Fehmer designed the house in 1891 for Dr. John Pratt, originally on the corner of Blossom and Allen streets. Twice moved for hospital expansions, the building now houses the registrar's office. Across N. Grove Street, the recent Lawrence House imitates the materials and massing of the Resident Physician's House and connects to the larger MGH Professional Office at 75 Cambridge Street, which is distinguished by three entrance arches derived from the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "George R. White Memorial Building, Massachusetts General Hospital", [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, 97-97.

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