John Hancock Tower, Copley Square

I. M. Pei (and Henry Cobb)
1972-75




This slender parallelogram, sixty stories tall, has been criticized for aesthetic reasons, particularly its placement in Copley Square near two important nineteenth century buildings--Richardson's Trinity Church and McKim, Mead and White's Boston Public Library. The abstract, high-tech quality of the John Hancock Tower seems jarring for some with the more humane, solid, masonry buildings.

 
In 1972, when the building was nearing completion, the windows began to fall out, thus delaying its opening. For a time, plywood panels were installed in the window openings--leading to the joke in Boston that the building should be renamed the U. S. Plywood Building.
 
The base has been criticized aesthetically, especially for the series of glass bubbles that project from the glass wall to serve as entrance canopies (seen on the left). For a contrasting solution see Roche Dinkeloo's UN Plaza Building.

The base

The glass curtain wall of the building reflects the adjoining buildings (Trinity Church, for example, seen on the right).



Other buildings by I. M. Pei on this site include:Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, Dreyfus Building, MIT, East Building, National Gallery of Art, Green Building, MIT, John F. Kennedy Library, Landau Building, MIT, Louvre Entrance, and National Bank of Commerce.


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Copyright Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.

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