Ames Building, Office Building
Boston, Massachusetts | 1893
The 1893 Ames Building, one of five commercial buildings in Boston designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge for Frederick Ames, was the young firm's first major commission following H.H. Richardson's death in 1886 and their completion of his unfinished projects. Inspired by Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, the building incorporates classic proportions of base, middle, and top that were unusual for its time. The masonry facade consists of beautiful details in blue slate and red sandstone as well as a rich composition of intricate decorative carvings.
The 13-story office building is considered Boston's first skyscraper and was its first elevator-dependent building. The 188' granite, brick, and sandstone building with its 28' cornice remains the second tallest building of masonry load-bearing construction in the world, second only to Chicago's Monadnock Building. The building's granite walls are 9' thick at the base.
The Old Colony Trust Company occupied several of the building's lower floors. The Ames Building was also home to Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge from 1893 to 1981, beginning the firm's ongoing tradition of occupying buildings of its own design. As Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott, the firm relocated to 40 Broad Street in 1981.
The Ames Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. After a major renovation it opened as the Morgan Hotel Group's Ames Hotel in 2009.
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