Blue Cross/Blue Shield Building

Icons at Risk

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Building

Location: Boston

Architect: Paul Rudolph

Year: 1960

Credited as the first major modernist office building in Boston, this structure is located in the heart of the city's financial district. With its ornate concrete exterior, it was unlike many other glass-clad office towers in that it merged a sophisticated Brutalist aesthetic with elements reminiscent of the older masonry buildings of Boston's city center. The building may now be demolished to make way for a much larger tower project initially designed by architect Renzo Piano. Although Piano has removed himself from the project, central features of his design remain, including an open plaza that would require destruction of the building—a surprising turn, given the praise bestowed upon Rudolph's design by architectural historian Vincent Scully, who noted the structure's "excellent relationship to the pre-existing street." 

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