Worcester greatly seen in the institutional, commercial

Worcester is the
second largest city in Massachusetts, but may also be one of its most historic.

While it may not be a city as historically rich and well known as Plymouth, the
buildings that make up the city represent a multitude of different styles and
designers of the time. This can be greatly seen in the institutional,
commercial and residential buildings that surround Worcester. The institutional
buildings are schools and hospitals; commercial are office spaces and retail;
and domestic are the buildings that the people of the city lived their lives in.

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Examples of Institutional buildings of Worcester include Worcester City Hall, Gordon
Library at Clark University and Mechanics Hall. The times that these buildings
were created and the current events of the world had a heavy influence on all
of these buildings designs. As the ABC of Architecture says “history and
architecture go hand in hand” as the world around these buildings has a big
influence on how they are going to be built.

Mechanics Hall

         Going
back to the 1850’s Worcester was a much different city than it was today. The
streets would have been unpaved and the up-and-coming industrial city would
have exploding with all of the urban traffic. The creation of new exciting
inventions would create a whole new kind of set of ideals for the people of the
time period. With this entire new boom in Worcester, it was in need of a place
for the area to host more cultural and political events for all members of the
community so that they could grow with the times.    Architect Elbridge Boyden was brought on to the job to design such
a building (Cavanaugh, 1979). He chose a multitude of materials to go into the
building including common building items such as bricks, iron, and mahogany
wood. These materials however were not used in in new and innovative ways. To
add strength and make the building more secure, iron was also included at part
of the materials for going into Mechanics Hall. However, iron at the time was not
a building material that many people wanted to be used for the type of elite
and ornate buildings that Boyden was looking to build. Boyden however disagreed
and used the iron anyways. The iron supported the columns and then they were
covered with cement, almost like a “gilded” effect. This could be foreshadowing
for the next time period to come. On the sides and the back of the building
(the part people would see less of) brick was used on the sides and back of
this building to save money. While on the front no expense was too much and it
was made with sandstone to give it a more luxurious look.                                                The
exact style of Renaissance Revival selected by Boyden stood for “universal
education, optimism, government connecting with the people, and progress that
benefited everyone” (Cavanaugh, 1979), ideals that would have been huge during
a revolution (particular an enlightening or industrial revolution). Mechanic
Hall’s front grand design of the building placed a strong emphasis on how
important the building was going to be in Worcester’s history and the
building’s overall purpose to educate its members. This building stood apart
because it was the only Renaissance Revival style being built in the city at
that time. No other building of the time period was made during this time,
making it the outlier building and maybe even the trailblazer building of the
city of Worcester. Mechanics Hall’s architecture is of the Renaissance Revival,
which became popular in the United States in the 1850s. This makes me believe
that this building was built during this time period. Mechanics Hall embodies
characteristics of this architecture in its symmetry, its arched windows and
its layered exterior (Wiffen 79). The outside of the building is coated with
windows, decorations and columns

         This
style taken on by Boyden directly displays the inspiration of Italian
Renaissance qualities found in the late 15th century in similar constructions
such as the Library of Saint Mark created by Jacopo Sansovino. The symmetry, arched
windows and interspersed columns are all illustrated in this example (Zirpolo,
2008). Although Mechanics Hall is noticeably simpler than the library’s much
grander appearance, their similarities are clearly visible. For example, the
levels of Mechanics Hall are split up the same what that they are in the
Library of Saint Mark. The classical columns are on both sides and the windows
all the same equal arches as they do on Mechanics Hall. The floors and around
the windows are both ornate with heavy stone sculptured designs surrounding
them. Both of the buildings had the same purpose in their cities as they both have
an educational background. The Library of Saint Mark being a library and the
Mechanics Hall having both lectures and a library for its members usage
pleasures.

         I
believe that this was an important time period to write about because this was
a changing point in American History. With new inventions (such as the steam
engine) the minds of the time start thinking in new ways. This means the
architecture is bond to change as well. With the buildings styles having
different ideals that they stand for this will eventually change the whole
culture of a city. This is what Mechanics Hall gave Worcester; a place to learn
in its libraries and lectures and to become culturally more advanced.

               

 

Worcester City Hall

         Later in Worcester’s timeline came a
building that is a staple of Worcester architecture, Worcester City Hall. This
building, constructed during a time in America’s History known as the Gilded
Age (1870-1990), I believe represents its time period well.

         Worcester City Hall is a building
filled architectural design with its prominent features such as its elegance
and massive form. The building’s expressive detail and freestanding columns and
fixtures communicate a sense of poise. It is also seen through the decorative
paneling. Power is conveyed through projecting porches, window balconies and
the front’s magnificent grand central staircase. Created from blocks of
granite, City Hall is another classic example of Italianate, a type of
Renaissance Revival style. Worcester’s City Hall was designed by Robert Peabody
and John Stearns in the manner of an Italian palazzo, or “palace for the people
of Worcester” (“Some historic houses”). It was meant
to make the city more ornate and beautiful like many of other the European
cities.

         One of the main characteristics of
Peabody and Stearn’s architectural forms is the use of a tower or cupola as
seen in many of their other works including Boston City Hall (“Commercial”,
2017). This touch is noted in Worcester’s City Hall,
which has an extraordinary clock tower. Some consider it as the heart of
downtown of Worcester, something that a city hall should represent to its
people. In keeping with the Italianate design, the building and tower, is very
similar to the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence Italy. The Palazzo Vecchio, an older
city hall in Florence, served the public in many qualities like its complement
in Worcester. It was a meeting place for local government and a place of
business for citizens (“The Palazzo Vecchio”).

The Palazzo Vecchio and City Hall have several features in common that can be
seen by just looking at the two. In terms of form and structure they are both blocky
in design and quadrangular in shape. Both have an upstairs for executive and
administration offices, a magnificent hall for important meetings and exquisite
courtyards on the ground floor.

         Other characteristics of the Renaissance Revival design represented in City Hall are long paired
windows and again the use of columns. As seen in the exterior of the building, there
are arched windows on every portion of the building. The side windows of the
front and back entrances are plain with pilasters while the top and bottom rows
are small and square in shape. Other central windows have lavish balconies. Column
use in Italy during the Renaissance was widely used for the architecture of
public buildings. Columns, still classical in style, became slimmer and fluting
was introduced as a decorative function to ordinary walls. The arch seen in the
building is also a major characteristic of this style. It too, became slender
and heightening of the arch was made popular by various architects of that
time.

         I believe that the time period the
Worcester City Hall was created was an important time period to talk about
because The Gilded Age was an important time in America’s history. During this
time in our country, America was a very corrupt place. Worcester citizens
needed a place that they could call “the heart” of their city. The ornate
design that architect’s Peabody and Stearns gave this city was one that was
beautiful and inspirational to all of its citizens. This building helped again
change Worcester for the better.

        

 

Gordon Library-Clark University

         John Johansen’s designs were all over
the country in private homes and public buildings such as theaters and museums,
but Goddard Library is still regarded as one of his most remarkable structures.

An example of Brutalist style architecture at its finest, the library was
considered innovative, forward-thinking evidence to modernism and aspiration.

It was such a sensation for its time, a mere two months before he left
footprints on the moon on May 19, 1969, famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin, cut the
ribbon on the building (Daly, 2013).

         Goddard Library is a sculptural,
dynamic structure that is “so fun and energizing to walk around, and a
creative, playful structure inside” (Daly, 2013). The architect always said
that he thought the mark of a good building is that it can change with time,
and the very sensitive changes that were made in 2009 have allowed the building
to speak to students in a profound, poetic, and useful way.

         I believe when the Gordon Library was
built was another important time period to talk about because it was a very
exciting time in America’s History. With the space race on everyone’s mind, no
one expected to be looking at architecture down on Earth. However, Johansen’s
design was so unique for a building of its time, people were. I believe that
the building such forward-thinking style goes with such a time period where
they were sending people off into space. Its use of its Modern Style was so
still so striking for the time period and its location in Worcester. 

 

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

         The building of the Peace Memorial
Museum, located at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima Japan, was built in
1955 to tell the story of Hiroshima before, during and after the bombing. It
was built relatively after a very sad time in Japan’s history when it lost
140,000 to 150,000 of its people just in that one-year alone.

         Tange 5 combined architectural
principles of Le Corbusier with traditional Japanese, such as screens to the
sun or modular facades aspects. In the Museum building architect he wanted to
show human strength to overcome the disaster and ruin leaving a free space
under the building and elevating on piles. This aspect is also related to
traditional Japanese architecture. The stores were usually built high on stilts
to protect crops from moisture and animals. Museum piles also serve to create
the entrance to the boulevard and places of worship. The building is also made
mostly out of windows, because this peace museum is a place of reflecting. 

 

         All
of these pieces of institutional architecture had one thing in common, as they
were all products of their environments. While they might not have followed
every trend that went with the times they were made, many of there styles can
be explained by the events that occurred during their time periods. All of
these buildings in Worcester added to its historical landmarks, telling
Worcester’s story.