John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse

John W Mccormack Post Office And Courthouse
  1. About the John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse in Boston
    1. Building Catalogations
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Cram and Ferguson and built between 1931 and 1933 in Boston, MA.

John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse is not the only name you might know this building by though. It is common for companies to want to attach their names to iconic buildings when they move in, or for the general public to come up with nicknames, and this one is no exception. The John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse is also known, or has been known as, United States Post Office, Courthouse, and Federal Building, or Federal Building.

Its precise street address is 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA. You can also find it on the map here.

The John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse is a structure of significant importance both for the city of Boston and the United States as a nation. The building embodies the distinctive characteristic features of the time in which it was built and the Art Deco style. Because of that, the John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse was officially included in the National Register of Historic Places on April 8th 2011, and was also included in the Boston Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
Added to the Boston RHP
Added to the NRHP
years ago

Architect and team

Cram and Ferguson was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design. But there was also one other architect involved, as far as we know. We are talking about James A. Wetmore.

Cram and Ferguson and the other architects already mentioned were in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline, which usually involves 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 Franklin M. Hull in charge of Structural Engineering.

Architectural Style

The John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse 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 John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse was completed in 1933, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse reaches an architectural height of 344ft (105m). It has a total of 22 floors

The building sits on a 602,778 sqf (56,000m2) lot.It has a built-up area of 602,778 sqf (56,000m2) offering 328,859 sqf (30,552m2) of usable space.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 32 spots available, which roughly equals 1 spots per floor (above ground), or one parking spot per every 10,280 sqf (955m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1933, the John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse has mainly been used as Governmental space.

344ft (105m)

Materials & Structure

The John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse uses a frame structure made of steel columns and reinforced concrete slabs.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features dark New England granite combined with gray New Hampshire granite and Chelmsfor granite in a similar colour. Indiana limestone was used to clad the central toweers's upper five stories, with a rhytmic stone patter emphasizing the building's height. Last but not least, decorative terracotta panels embellish the facade.