Itching to learn more about a specific building in Roxbury, I reached for the most recently published AIA Guide to Boston Architecture among my books only to find out that Roxbury, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain had been almost excluded from the guide. As a self proclaimed bibliophile, I freaked out at the sight of a book titled “AIA Guide to Boston Architecture” yet fails to be inclusive of all the neighborhoods in Boston. Are Roxbury, Dorchester, and Jamaica Plain not considered part of Boston? The last time I looked at a recent map of Boston, these neighborhoods were part of it and they were also rich in architectural treasures.
Of course, there is always an alternative to everything in life. The Society of Architectural Historians published its Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston guidebook, the latest in the Buildings of the United States series. The guide has the most up to date research conducted by scholars on the architecture of Boston and its surroundings. This guide is inclusive of every neighborhood and even strives to highlight buildings designed by “minority” architects.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not by any means condemning the use of the AIA Guide to Boston Architecture. It is a great book although somewhat limited in buildings, it has great photography and its size makes it easy to carry around Boston unlike the SAH guide which is enormous and makes a great addition to a library as a reference book.