Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Berkeley Building

The Berkeley at 420 Boylston Street
The Berkeley at 420 Boylston Street, designed by the firm of Codman and Despradelle,  is a lyrically beautiful building that was completed in 1905.  Désiré Despradelle was a professor of architecture at MIT who had been educated at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris--an architectural school that was highly influential on early 20th century U.S. architecture.   Boston lagged behind Chicago and New York in construction of the new steel-framed buildings (especially skyscrapers), and this building doesn't compete on height, but its exterior is stunning--its steel frame ornamented with glazed terra-cotta, copper, and glass.

Désiré Despradelle, architectDespradelle taught at MIT from 1893 until his untimely death in 1912, and his students would go on to teach and practice architecture across the country in the years that followed.  Guy Lowell, a former student of Despradelle's (and also an MIT instructor), would design the new Boston Museum of Fine Arts building--completed in 1909.

Despradelle also designed the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston which opened after his death.

Illustration Credits and References

The photograph of The Berkeley Building appears on blog.petaflop.de

The photograph of Desiré Despradelle was found at the MIT Museum website, which also provided information on Despradelle's career.