Motor Mart Garage

Ralph Harrington Doane, 1927

Harleston Parker Medal, 1927

The four-story predecessor to this parking garage was an early "auto mall" where many dealers and parts suppliers had stalls under one roof, thus the "Motor Mart” moniker.

By the time this 9-story vaguely art deco structure was erected in the '20s, auto dealers were heading for bigger quarters along Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University (and from there out to the suburbs), but the need for downtown parking remained. Although it is fairly conventional architecturally, it is an early attempt to give a monumental urban form to this much-maligned new building type.

New owners renovated the Motor Mart in 1999, restoring the art deco details to their original state. The innovative "double-helix" ramps remain intact, and the rehabilitated Statler and Emancipation parks nearby provide a little breathing room in a tight urban context.

Images: Motor Mart Garage