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Rowes Wharf

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1987, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Atlantic Ave.
  • Rowes Wharf (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

On a site harking back to the early maritime city, Rowes and Fosters wharves harbored a ferry terminal to East Boston from 1879 to c. 1920. Today the 5½-acre site provides access to sea, land, and, above all, air transport. An extraordinary multiuse complex, Rowes Wharf acts as the gateway to Boston when approached by water-taxi from Logan Airport. Few developments successfully combine as many functions—hotel, condominiums, offices, health club, public pedestrian promenade, marine and ferry services, restaurants, and cafes. Provisions are abundant; so, too, are the architectural details. Here there is a surfeit of everything, especially visible in the textual density—from precast concrete, masonry, and granite to the copper-clad dome of the waiting pavilion for embarkation of the shuttle. Although the monumental arch may be overbearing, the Atlantic Avenue facade still holds the promise of a viable urban space.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Rowes Wharf", [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, 86-86.

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