Here’s the spring line-up at the Skyscraper Museum and I couldn’t be more pleased to kick things off with a romp through mid-century architecture, development, and design practices. You can RSVP with the Museum if you know you can come, or you are welcome to just show up on March 7, 6.30 PM – 8.00 PM, at 39 Battery Place.
The New England Mutual, 1939, Cram & Ferguson, anchored the Back Bay insurance district. Trinity Church, 1877, H. H. Richardson, in foreground.
I’ll be doing a book talk at the Skyscraper Museum in New York on Thursday 7th March. Come on down!
Thrilled that the Institute Library will host the New Haven launch of Insuring the City. You are invited!
And I want to thank Jasdeep Bhalla for designing this poster.
Totally digging on this poster produced by Northeastern student Chelsea Brown for my talk at NEU School of Architecture on September 24. You recognize, of course, the staggered aluminum-frame facade of our favorite office tower.
Very happy to have two opportunities in the coming weeks to speak about Insuring the City.
New York chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians
Thursday, October 11, 6.30 pm
New York University Department of Art History
Silver Center, Room 301
100 Washington Square East (entrance on Waverly)
New York City
You are welcome to attend!
Massachusetts Historical Society
Wednesday, October 17, 6.00 pm (reception at 5.30)
1154 Boylston Street
Open to the public!
This 1963 drawing from Charles Luckman’s offices demonstrates the architects’ aspirations for the retail pavilions — there were four of them, one at each of the tower’s corners — at the Prudential Center. The lower level is marked “Sterns,” the department store, and escalators ascend to the plaza level with its glass-enclosed shops and open-air corridor.
Charles Luckman Associates (CLA) took on design responsibilities for many of the key tenants at the Prudential Center, including the New England Merchants Bank, which occupied the entire southwest commercial pavilion as well as a floor in the tower. Luckman’s attention was divided and this did not sit well with Wes Toole, Prudential’s executive overseeing the Regional Home Office program. In October 1964, He wrote a biting letter to Charles Stanton, the head of CLA’s office in New York, complaining about Luckman’s behavior. He wanted to remind that firm that “Luckman is representing Prudential first, and any of the tenants secondly, and should be guided accordingly . . .” Prudential was not used to playing second fiddle. Luckman was quick to patch up his relationship with Toole, who carried a lot of influence.
On a recent sunny day during lunch time, the North terrace of the Prudential Center food court was full of “white collar” workers . . . though they all seemed to be wearing blue shirts. The facade of the tower in the background is the original. The enclosed food court – dressed up with some simple and colorful postmodern detailing – is part of more recent renovations.