Berkeley Building

Berkeley Building
  1. About the Berkeley Building in Boston
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectural style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The Berkeley Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Cram and Ferguson and built in 1947 in Boston, MA.

Berkeley Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as Old John Hancock Building.

Its precise street address is 200 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA. You can also find it on the map here.

Architect and team

Cram and Ferguson was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Cram and Ferguson was in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline involving many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but at the very least we know that there was one other part involved, that was Cram and Ferguson as the Main Developer.

Architectural Style

The Berkeley Building can be categorized as an Art-deco building.

The Art Deco movement flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, with many historians marking the outbreak of World War II as its final decline. Even though a couple of decades might not seem as much, the Art Deco movement had a great impact on architecture, and it's widely represented in many American cities due to the development boom that happened during that time.

Art Deco marked the abandonment of traditional historicism and the embracement of modern living and the age of the machine. In architecture, that meant leaving behind the ornaments of Beux-Arts and Neo-Gothic buildings and instead favoring simplicity and visual impact through geometric shapes, clean lines, and symmetrical designs. Ornaments were still an important part of the design, but they became bold and lavish, and were often inspired by ancient cultures or industrial imagery, instead of nature.

The Berkeley Building was completed in 1947, significantly after what could be considered the end of the Art-Deco movement. It was clearly inspired by the movement, but because it doesen't really fit into the movement's timeline it would be considered as a post-movement or neo-movement.

Especially during modern times, there are less imposed rules when it comes to design. Variety and experimentation are welcome, and architects are given the freedom to take inspiration from a wide range of sources.

Looking at the past for inspiration can be a great starting point for an architectural project, and something which Cram and Ferguson clearly took advantage of to design the Berkeley Building. Architects may choose to look to the past for multiple reasons. It could be that they want the building to merge with an older surounding, give it the feeling of having been there for longer than it actualy has, personal preference or it might even be a requieremnt from the client.

Spaces & Uses

The Berkeley Building reaches an architectural height of 495ft (151m). It has a total of 26 floors.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1947, the Berkeley Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

495ft (151m)