Boston is a great place to live if you are a designer at any of time of year, and summer is an especially fun time to enjoy the amazing landscapes, roof decks, exhibits and events that Boston and the surrounding area has to offer for design lovers.
To help you explore the city, you can now utilize the new Boston Society of Architects/AIA and the BSA Foundation AIA Guide to Boston mobile app to explore the Boston area. Since 1984, the AIA Guide has been Boston’s definitive field book, providing a quick and ready understanding of a large number of buildings and other sites across the city. Like the book, the app is written for professionals and laymen, residents and visitors—anyone curious about Boston’s architecture, history and development. The sites are generally selected for architectural significance, but the scope extends into history, personalities and local lore. Newcomers and visitors will find many different ways to explore the city, while Boston natives will discover there’s always more to learn. With the app, you can learn more about some of our Payette designed buildings including Northeastern University ISEC and Alexandria Real Estate Equities 75–125 Binney Street.
In addition to the app, we also gathered some of our favorite places, upcoming events we’re excited to attend and tips for exploring our city with an architect’s eye. What spaces and experiences would you add to our list?
Buddhist Temple Room at the Museum of Fine Arts
Designed in 1909, the Buddhist Temple Room evokes the dignified simplicity of Japanese temples. Japanese and American craftsmen consulted plans of the main hall at the eighth-century monastic complex of Hōryū-ji, one of the oldest extant in Japan, and collaborated on the adaptation of some of its architectural elements for the Temple Room and nearby galleries. Massive wooden pillars with Japanese-style brackets now frame the walls in the Temple Room, where the décor and subdued lighting encourage contemplative viewing of the seven Japanese statues housed there.
The focal point is the monumental Dainichi, Buddha of Infinite Illumination (1149), the supreme deity of the Esoteric Buddhist pantheon. His hand is in the “wisdom-fist” gesture symbolizing divine knowledge. To his left is another Dainichi Buddha from the 12th century, and to his right is Amida, Buddha of Infinite Light (12th century). Also on view in the Temple Room are two of Four Guardian Kings (9th century), Fudō the Immovable One (12th century) and Bishamonten, Guardian of the North (11th–12th century). All are made of wood, either cypress or camphor, and some are painted or have gilt accents.
It is my favorite quiet spot in Boston with the low light and wooden alcove benches. It is a really peaceful area.
Isabela Stewart Gardner Museum
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum displays an art collection of world importance, including works that rank among the most significant of their type. Isabella Stewart Gardner collected and carefully displayed a collection comprised of more than 2,500 objects—paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles, drawings, silver, ceramics, illuminated manuscripts, rare books, photographs and letters—from ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Italy, Asia, the Islamic world and 19th-century France and America. Built to evoke a 15th-century Venetian palace, the Museum itself provides an atmospheric setting for Isabella Stewart Gardner’s inventive creation.
Harry Parker Boathouse
Nestled along the banks of the Charles River in historic Boston, sits the Harry Parker Boathouse, an internationally recognized attraction for rowing and a gem within the Massachusetts park system. Community Rowing Inc., was the first public rowing club in Boston and remains one of the largest in the United States. And now the stunning boathouse is the perfect venue for a gorgeous and unique wedding along the river. With the natural beauty surrounding you, from the lush green trees, and clear, cool waters of the river, you and your guests will be dazzled with the perfect wedding ceremony on the dock. Harry Parker Boathouse is truly a stunning space and backdrop for amazing photos you’ll be delighted with for your special day. The reception space has floor to ceiling windows, so you’ll continue to enjoy the natural setting while dining and dancing the night away. With the ability to accommodate guest lists both large and small, from small cozy events to larger celebrations, you will be sure to celebrate in style.
Amy’s Picks :
Charles River Canoe and Kayak
For the adventuresome, there is no better view of the Charles River than on it! Cool off on a summer day with local access to kayaks, paddleboards and canoes from Paddle Boston. On summer weekends, this location can become quite crowded, so remember to arrive early, and bring the sunblock.
For small or large groups, this is a great activity for fantastic city views from a truly unique vantage. From this location, paddle under and around landmark bridges such as the Longfellow or Zakim, and view the Science Museum, M.I.T and surrounds.
Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival
July 21-23, 2017
You can’t go wrong with a trip to the beach on any hot summer day, and Revere is no exception, with proximate access to Boston directly off the Blue Line. The 3-mile stretch of Revere Beach was proudly founded as the first public beach in the United States, and hosts a yearly event to showcase local and international sculptors working in a truly ephemeral medium – sand! The sculptures are incredibly detailed, and while the art provides the main attraction, the event also features a bevy of local food trucks, carnival snacks, music and local entertainment. Round out the day with a trip to Kelly’s Roast Beef, to top off the experience. Tip: Parking is typically hard to find and costly, so the MBTA is your best bet which provides easy access via a new pedestrian connection at the Wonderland T station.
The Lawn on D
While year-round events abound at this local hot-spot, summer season is the best time to visit the popular Lawn on D. An outdoor interactive space, the Lawn on D is a one-of-a-kind Boston experience. Movies, concerts, food festivals and many other events occur weekly, if not daily, attracting local visitors to engage in lawn games, art exhibitions and take a swing on the suspended glow seating. Tip: Catch Jaws On D, an outdoor screening of the hit movie Jaws – a Massachusetts staple – on June 30th. Throw out a blanket or bring a chair!
Lake Nagog in Acton, MA
Looking to get away from the city for the weekend? Head over to Acton, Massachusetts to Lake Nagog to soak in the rural character and enjoy the many hiking trails. There is also a farm stand that sells fresh produce from the Nagog Hill Orchard.
The Boston University Bridge, originally the Cottage Farm Bridge and commonly referred to as the BU Bridge, is a steel truss through arch bridge with a suspended deck carrying Route 2 over the Charles River, connecting Boston to Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is a great place to watch the sun set in the reflection of the skyline.
MIT Press Bookshop
The MIT Press Bookshop has an amazing selection of books that are at the intersection of philosophy, architecture and politics. It was founded in 1980 and is one of the only retail bookstores owned and operated by a university press. Located near campus, the Press Bookshop is the bookselling arm of the MIT Press, the nonprofit publishing program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons