360 Newbury Street

Arthur Bowditch, 1918Renovation: Frank O. Gehry with Schwartz/Silver Architects, 1989

Harleston Parker Medal, 1991

Gehry’s lead-coated copper add-ons energize this pivotal property overlooking the Mass Turnpike, turning a background building into a prominent landmark.

A series of chunky metal-clad struts support a floating roof over a new two story penthouse, and then cascade down to form canopies along the street and over the entry. The new elements respect the rhythm of the original building’s filigree of windows while giving a dynamic profile to what was once a rather inert cube. The lobby’s backlit yellow onyx and dark birch panels framed in brass provide a dramatic nighttime glow at this busy intersection.

Though its oversized cornice and canopies echo the language of postmodernism, Gehry's use of bare metal and a more industrial aesthetic mark an important step away from the appliquéd historical forms of that style and towards the more sculptural expression that would shape his future work.

Images: ©Yonward