Mid-Century Modern 1932-1965

Building on ideals of the International Style, Boston’s architecture started to reflect and integrate several parallel Modern movements during and after WWII. The International Style championed by Gropius softened to adapt to the local context and environment, allowing for new materials and forms. Notably, Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen introduced their sculptural versions of modernism in several highly visible buildings at MIT, breaking the rectilinear mold.

Though the simple massing and minimal ornamentation carried over from the International Style, stark concrete gave way to brick, steel, glass, textured surfaces, and even the occasional flash of color as a more broadly-based Modernism took hold.

Docomomo is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement. It has an active New England chapter which organizes lectures and tours, often in collaboration with BSA. See http://www.docomomo-us.org/new_england

Image: Kresge Auditorium, MIT, ©Peter Vanderwarker