The Grain Exchange Building, Boston
We have seen how
For several years
Like their mentor,
SR&C won commissions for a number of office buildings.
Near their present office in
Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce
A key feature of the Grain Exchange is the tall round-arched window form that dominates the façade. It is composed of two narrower inset windows separated by a mullion in the form of a tall column. In the space between the radiused tops of the windows is a round opening (an oculus). Topping the inset, we find a typical Richardsonian arch formed by ashlar voussoirs.
Left to right:
Grain Exchange, Shadyside, Courthouse Tower
Precisely this same
composition was used for the six main windows in the transepts at
Shadyside. Here, of course,
the glazing is stained glass. SR&C
also used this form in a
Freemasons' Hall, Pittsburgh (2)
Building Showing Tall Window in Trading Room (1)
These tall windows at
the Exchange enclose an equally tall room originally used by traders in
flour and grain. This was also
the pattern of the
The Grain Exchange, Shadyside, Freemason’s Hall and the Courthouse all shared another window feature: bands of shorter round-arch windows. The round arch opening is a signature of Romanesque architecture. Richardson and, later, SR&C applied them in series to form strong horizontals, often to terminate a section of structure. All four examples here use them this way.
A distinctive feature at Shadyside is the use of grotesques to form horizontal bands. The faces are carved into modillion-like features, which when viewed from a distance form a dentil band. A similar band (with the modillions not carved) is seen on the Grain Exchange above its short round arch widows. Once again, precedent may be found in the Courthouse tower, below the tall openings, in this case with carving.
exterior elevation terminates in its signature pyramid roof with
picturesque dormers at mid-elevation.
The Grain Exchange is topped by an analogous roof, this time round
and conical. A series of
dormers on the
The simpler Shadyside
roof model is also used on The Beal Companies’ headquarters.
characteristic common to Shadyside and the Exchange is uncommon in designs
(1) From J. K. Ochsner, H. H. Richardson Complete Architectural Works, MIT 1982
(2) From W. C.
Kidney, Pittsburgh Architectural Landmarks, Pittsburgh History
& Landmarks Foundation, 1997
(3) Image from Tom Stepleton