The Boston Public Library building, and the Trinity Church, on opposite sides of Copley Square, are both fine examples of Boston architecture. They add an imposing grandeur to this opening in Boston's busy streets. Copley Square allows tourists and busy office workers alike enough space to take in and admire the entire buildings. In the last half of the nineteenth century, the Back Bay was reclaimed from the sea, and developed with majestic public buildings. When built, the church and the library were seen as keystones in what would be a plan to bring cultural and scientific institutions into Boston.
The Boston Public Library was designed in 1888, during a period of popularity of classical design, when American Neoclassicism was popular. It was designed by the firm of McKim, Mead, and White shortly after Richardson's death. McKim, Mead, and White were the intellectual heirs of Richardson. Both Charles Follen McKim and Henry Hobson Richardson trained at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris after studying at Harvard University. McKim was a draftsman for Richardson during the Brattle Square Unitarian Church project.
|Boston Public Library|
Trinity Church is articulated with round-headed Romanesque arches. The Richardsonian Romanesque style draws on the visual strength of rusticated raw rock faces, with structural features like arches and lintels made of a different type of stone. In contrast to Trinity Church's deliberately unfinished look, the Library has smooth granite walls, topped with a copper creneau, and cast iron sconces.