The Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
Charles Bulfinch, 1795-1797; restored 1896-1898 Rear Annex: Charles E. Brigham, 1889-1895 Wings: Chapman, Sturgis and Andrews, 1914-1917 Renovation: Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott, 1993
I was inspired to highlight 31 buildings in Boston in 31 days after the architecture blog A Daily Dose of Architecture . Not only was I going to highlight 31 buildings, but 31 of Bostonian’s favorite buildings. This is the series.
About The Massachusetts State House:
I once wrote a paper while an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire in which I argued that Charles Bulfinch was a Neo-Baroque architect working behind the Adamesque tradition. To illustrate this point, I used as the focus of the argument, the Massachusetts State House; one of Bulfinch’s most recognizable buildings.
Influenced to a great extent by the architecture of Robert Adam, Andrea Palladio and James Wyatt, Charles Bulfinch incorporated many traditional Baroque elements into his government commission for buildings. Classified as a Federal architect, Bulfinch’s designs for the Massachusetts State House, the Hartford State House, and the United States Capitol building are, to an extent, more Baroque than they are ordinarily considered to be. Bulfinch borrows the simulated movements, drama, and monumentality from the great monuments of the Baroque period like San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane and San Andrea al Quirinale among many others. Bulfinch, then incorporated these elements into the classical tradition of Robert Adam and Andrea Palladio into his architecture.
The Massachusetts State House is a great example of his Baroque tendencies primarily observed in the interplay of light and shadow and the rhythm created through the pairings of columns and other elements on the façade.