Examples of Common Architecture Found in Boston

The Palmier family have a long history in Boston. As a result, we are leaf peepers, foodies, cyclists and lovers of architecture. Boston is a wonderful example of architecture styles that go back as far as the founding of America.

According to the Boston preservation Alliance There are many styles throughout the greater Boston area. Since many of these are considered “Revival Styles” which were often applied to existing structures after their first construction, and they are all very interesting, I will focus on the 4 main styles which can be found in the greater Boston area.


Technically, Colonial architecture brings a style from another country and applies it into another, often very distant setting. Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. In New England, colonial houses were built primarily from wood, incorporating styles found in the southeastern counties of England. Particularly, you will find Post-Medieval and Georgian Colonial styles such as the Paul Revere House (Post-Medieval) and the Old State House (Georgian).


In the early days of the American republic, Boston’s founders chose to associate their architecture with that of ancient Greece to represent the republican values of Rome. Federal style architecture is generally built in North America between 1780-1830. New State House on Beacon St. is a perfect example of Federal architecture as is William Hickling Prescott House, also on Beacon St. Some historians refer to this as Greek Revival style, it is easy to see the influence in these two buildings.


Victorian architecture is considered a revival style which was popular in the mid to late 19th century in America. Unlike other revival styles which were additions to existing buildings and/or combinations with other American styles, Victorian architecture was a cohesive, consistent style present in Boston for a period of time. After the Civil War, this style was popular and often includes ornate facades and interiors with high roofs and steep slopes with prominent gables. Buildings such as the Trinity Church, called one of the “Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States” by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The Boston Chamber of Commerce originally the Flour and Grain Exchange Building also embraces the Victorian style.


Contemporary architecture of Boston includes Mid-century Modernism (1938-1980) and Brutalism (1950-1975) as well as prevalent styles in the building being constructed today. Modernism, also known as the International style favors simple, minimalist forms which center on function. Gropius House on Baker Bridge Road by Walter Gropius exemplifies this type of architecture. Brutalism on the other hand can be identified by large-scale, angular geometric forms and blunt details. The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Office Building shows off this style.

Daniel Palmier is the President and CEO of UC Funds, a Commercial Real Estate Investment firm in Boston Massachusetts. He is also the Director of the Palmier Foundation, an organization that supports various charities locally and abroad. To read about UC Funds, go here. To read more about the Palmier Foundation, visit their website here.

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