Every month architects and industry insiders share their recommendations for the best exhibitions and events to visit in Boston.
The good news is that it’s May at last. Boston’s in bloom, the days are warm and long, and it’s a pleasure to be out and about.
The BAD news? For the first time, the BSA’s new Boston Architectural Diary (BAD) presents the full scope and richness of events across the city, so now you can see all you’ve been missing! This should come as little surprise, given all the design-related schools and organizations around Boston, but it’s impressive – and a bit daunting - to see it all in one place. Now, no more excuses, only good choices…
Boston boasts more architects per capita than other U.S. city, but we don’t have a monopoly on good ideas, even for our own hometown. EXAMPLES FROM ELSEWHERE: COPENHAGEN AND INDIANAPOLIS brings perspectives from the U.S. Midwest and Scandinavia to an ongoing conversation about completing Olmsted’s vision for Boston’s Emerald Necklace with a greenway extending along Columbia Road.
Whether you’re revisiting client installations or returning to your own garden after the winter, THE CHALLENGE OF A PUBLIC NATIVE PLANT GARDEN from the curator of the New York Botanical Garden’s new Native Plant Garden is timely. Bonus: the event takes place at the Harleston Parker Medal-winning Cambridge Public Library.
MIT presents stately Classical Revival facades to Boston and Mass. Ave, but the campus holds a remarkable collection of modern and contemporary buildings from Aalto and Saarinen in the 1940s and 50s to Gehry and Holl after 2000. The MODERN ARCHITECTURE WALKING TOUR OF MIT will also reveal unexpected recent hidden gems from local architects. If your Mother’s Day brunch is already booked on Sunday, try the MODERN ARCHITECTURE TOUR OF HARVARD the day before.
At the BSA Space, THE NEW INFLATABLE MOMENT opens this month with a survey of inflatable structures both contemporary and historic. An interactive timeline links these fantastical designs to pivotal moments of sociopolitical change, and highlights their surprising links to utopian movements.
This month’s longer days means you can drive to Lincoln while it’s still light and see the landscape in bloom en route. EVENING AT GROPIUS HOUSE offers an unusual format to discover little-known details about this local icon of the International Style. Don’t miss Graham Gund’s postmodern addition to the Lincoln Public Library and the other mod-century modern houses tucked away nearby.
The LONGWOOD & COTTAGE FARM TOUR explores a little-known area remarkably close to downtown. These were among the first “commuter” neighborhoods to develop with the extension of Beacon Street along a causeway to the west, long before Back Bay was filled in. Tour leader Boston by Foot was founded by local architect Earl Flansburgh and his wife 40 years ago, and remains dedicated to providing high quality outings.
Finally, keep an eye open for announcements regarding Historic New England’s EUSTIS ESTATE in Milton. This new house museum is doing a soft opening for members this month, and will be open to the public soon. The spectacular preview photos of William Ralph Emerson’s Queen Anne masterpiece make it clear that a visit should be on everyone’s summer calendar.