- Henry Hobson Richardson
Henry Hobson Richardson (
September 29, 1838– April 27, 1886) was a prominent American architectof the 19th century whose work left a significant impact on, among others, Boston, Pittsburgh, Albany, and Chicago.
Richardson was born at Priestly Plantation in
St. James Parish, Louisianaand spent part of his childhood in New Orleans, where his family resided on Julia Row in a red brick house designed by the architect Alexander T. Wood. He was the great-grandson of inventor and philosopher Joseph Priestley.
Richardson went on to study at
Harvard College. Initially he was interested in civil engineering, but eventually shifted to architecture which led him to go to Paris in 1860 to attend the famed École des Beaux Arts.
He didn't finish his training there, as family backing failed during the U.S. Civil War. Nonetheless, he was only the second US citizen to attend the École—
Richard Morris Huntwas the first. The school was to play an increasingly important role in training Americans in the following decades.
Richardson returned to the U.S. in 1865. The style that Richardson favored, however, was not the more classical style of the École, but a more medieval-inspired style, influenced by
William Morris, John Ruskinand others. Richardson developed a unique idiom, however, adapting in particular the Romanesque of southern France.
The 1872 Trinity Church in Boston solidified Richardson's national reputation and provided major commissions for the rest of his life. It was also a collaboration with the construction and engineering firm of the
Norcross Brothers, with whom the architect would work on some 30 projects. Evidence of Richardson's contemporary recognition is that, of ten buildings named by American architects as the best in 1885, fully half were his: Trinity Church, Boston, Albany City Hall, Sever Hallat Harvard University, the New York State Capitolin Albany (as a collaboration), and Town Hall in North Easton, Massachusetts.
Richardson died in 1886 at age 47 of
Bright's disease, a kidney disorder. He was buried in Walnut Hills Cemetery, Brookline, Massachusetts.
Though not a Richardson design,
H.H. Richardson's housein Brookline, MA should also be mentioned in any discussion of his buildings. Richardson spent much of his later years in the house and had a studio attached in order to limit travel (probably due to his health problems). The house has fallen into disrepair and was listed in 2007 as an endangered historic site [ [http://press.nationaltrust.org/content/view/135/162/ National Trust For Historic Preservation Press Website - H.H. Richardson House in Brookline, Massachusetts ] ] .
Richardson's most acclaimed work is Trinity Church in
Copley Square, Boston, part of one of the outstanding American urban complexes built as the center piece of the newly developed Back Bay. The Boston Public Library was built across from it later by Richardson's former draftsman, Charles Follen McKim. The interior of the church is one of the leading examples of the Arts and craftsaesthetic in the US.
A series of small public libraries donated by patrons for the improvement of New England towns makes a small coherent corpus that defines Richardson's style: libraries in Woburn, North Easton, Malden, Massachusetts, the
Thomas Crane Public Library (Quincy, Massachusetts), and Billings Memorial Libraryon the campus of the University of Vermont[ [http://www.uvm.edu/~campus/billings/billingsprovost/billingshistoryprovost.html UVM Billings History - Provost ] ] . These buildings seem resolutely anti-modern, with the atmosphere of an Episcopalian vicarage, dimly lit for solemnity rather than reading on site. They are preserves of culture that did not especially embrace the contemporary flood of newcomers to New England. Yet they offer clearly defined spaces, easy and natural circulation, and they are visually memorable. Richardson's libraries found many imitators in the " Richardsonian Romanesque" movement.
Richardson also designed six railroad stations for the Boston & Albany railroad company as well as two stations for other lines. These buildings were more subtle than his churches, municipal buildings and libraries, but still unmistakably his.
After his death, more than 20 other stations were built in Richardson's style for the Boston and Albany line by the firm of
Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, all draftsmen of Richardson at the time of his death. All of the Boston and Albany stations were landscaped by Richardson's frequent collaborator, Frederick Law Olmsted. Additionally, a railroad station in Orchard Park, NY (near Buffalo) was built in 1911 as a replica of Richardson's Auburndale station in Auburndale, MA. The original Auburndale station was torn down in the 1960's during construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Of the original Richardson stations on the Boston and Albany line, all have been converted into new uses (such as restaurants). Two of the stations built by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge (both in Newton, MA) are still used by Boston's MBTA (green line) public transit service.
Sever Hall, Harvard University (1880), brickwork, with molded brick string courses with turrets embedded in the walls, strips of windows, under a huge hipped roof as well as Austin Hall (Harvard University)(1882-1884) which followed a more traditional Richardson motif.
Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (1883–1888) connected by a bridge to its jail across the narrow street: cyclopean masonry and a tall tower
* Marshall Field Warehouse, Chicago, Illinois (1887) (demolished 1930), graded variations in rusticated stonework, vast windowed arcading spanning three floors, with not a historical detail in sight
* Buffalo's New York State Asylum (1870), shown on the right, was the largest building of the master's career and the first to display his characteristic style. The complex was also the first of many projects on which he worked with
Frederick Law Olmsted.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
New York State Capitol(oversight and partial contribution)
:"see main article
Richardson is one of few architects to be immortalized by having the honor of having a style named after him. "
Richardsonian Romanesque", unlike Victorian revival styles like Neo-Gothic, was a highly personal synthesis of the Beaux-Arts predilection for clear and legible plans, with the heavy massing that was favored by the pro-medievalists.
Significant to Richardson's style was his picturesque massing and roofline profiles, along with his mastery of rustication and polychromy, semi-circular arches supported on clusters of squat columns, and round arches over clusters of windows on massive walls.
Following his death, the Richardsonian style was perpetuated by a variety of proteges and other architects, many for civic buildings like city halls, county buildings, court houses, train stations and libraries, as well as churches and residences. These include:
* the successor firm of
Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, who completed some two dozen unfinished projects and then continued to produce work in the same style, and continued to employ his collaborators the Norcross Brothersfor construction and engineering expertise, Frederick Law Olmstedfor landscape architecture, and the English sculptor John Evans for stonecarving
Stanford Whiteand Charles Follen McKim, who worked in Richardson's office as young men, went on to form McKim, Mead and Whiteand moved into the radically different Beaux-Arts architecturestyle
* Richardson's great admirer
Louis Sullivanadapted Richardson's characteristic lessons of texture, massing, and the expressive language of stone walling, particularly at Chicago's Auditorium Building, and these influences are detectable in the work of Sullivan's own student Frank Lloyd Wright
* and Richardson found sympathetic reception among young Scandinavian architects of the following generation, notably
Chronological list of extant works [H.H. Richardson Complete Architectural Works by
Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, 1982]
* 1867 Grace Episcopal Church - Medford, MA
* 1868 Benjamin W. Crowninshield House - Boston, MA
H. H. Richardson House- Clifton, Staten Island, NY
Alexander Dallas Bache Monument- Washington, DC
William E. Dorsheimer House- Buffalo, NY
* 1869 Brattle Square Church (now First Baptist Church) - Boston, MA
Buffalo State Hospital- Buffalo, NY
Hampden County Courthouse- Springfield, MA
North Congregational Church- Springfield, MA
* 1872 Trinity Church - Boston, MA (National Historic Landmark)
William Watts Sherman House- Newport, RI
Hayden Building- Boston, MA
R. and F. Cheney Building- Harford, CT
New York State Capitol- Albany, NY
Rev. Henry Eglinton Montgomery Memorial- New York, NY
Winn Memorial Library- Woburn, MA
* 1877 Oliver Ames Free Library - North Easton, MA
Sever Hall- Cambridge, MA
* 1879 Oakes Ames Memorial Town Hall - North Easton, MA
Rectory for Trinity Church- Boston, MA
Ames Monument- Sherman, WY
* 1880 F.L. Ames Gate Lodge - North Easton, MA
Bridge in Fenway Park- Boston, MA
Stony Brook Gatehouse- Boston, MA
* 1880 Thomas Crane Public Library - Quincy, MA (National Historic Landmark)
Dr. John Bryant House- Cohasset, MA
* 1880 City Hall - Albany, NY
* 1881 Austin Hall - Cambridge, MA
* 1881 Boston & Albany Railroad Station - Palmer, MA
Pruyn Monument- Albany, NY
Rev. Percy Browne House- Marion, MA
Old Colony Railroad Station- North Easton, MA
Grange Sard, Jr., House- Albany, NY
Mrs. M.F. Stoughton House- Cambridge, MA
Billings Memorial Library- Burlington, VT
Emmanuel Episcopal Church- Pittsburgh, PA
Converse Memorial Library- Malden, MA (National Historic Landmark)
* 1883 Boston & Albany Railroad Station - South Framingham, MA
Connecticut River Railroad Station- Holyoke, MA
* 1883 Allegheny County Buildings - Pittsburgh, PA
* 1883 Robert Treat Paine House - Waltham, MA
F.L. Ames Gardener's Cottage- North Easton, MA
Immanuel Baptist Church- Newton, MA
* 1884 Boston & Albany Railroad Station - Newton, MA
Ephraim W. Gurney House- Beverly, MA
Benjamin H. Warder House- Washington, DC
Bagley Memorial Fountain- Detroit, MI
John J. Glessner House- Chicago, IL
* 1885 Boston & Albany Railroad Station - Wellesley Hills, MA
Union Passenger Station- New London, CT
Sir Hubert Herkomer House- Bushey, Hertfordshire, England
Dr. H.J. Bigelow House- Newton, MA
Isaac H. Lionberger House- St. Louis, MO
*Breisch, Kenneth A,. "Henry Hobson Richardson and the Small Public Library in America: A Study in Typology",
MIT Press, 1997
*Floyd, Margaret Henderson, "Henry Hobson Richardson: A Genius for Architecture", Monacelli Press, NY 1997
*Hitchcock, Henry Russell, "The Architecture of H. H. Richardson and His Times",
Museum of Modern Art, NY 1936; 2nd ed., Archon Books, Hampden CT 1961; rev. paperback ed., MIT Press, Cambridge MA and London 1966
*Larson, Paul C., ed., with Susan Brown, "The Spirit of H.H. Richardson on the Midland Prairies: Regional Transformations of an Architectural Style", University Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Iowa State University Press, Ames 1988
*Meister, Maureen, ed., "H. H. Richardson: The Architect, His Peers, and Their Era,"
MIT Press, Cambridge MA 1999
*Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, "H.H. Richardson: Complete Architectural Works",
MIT Press, Cambridge MA 1984
*Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, and Andersen, Dennis A., "Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and the Legacy of H. H. Richardson,"
University of Washington Press, Seattle 2003
*O'Gorman, James F., "Living Architecture: A Biography of H. H. Richardson," Simon & Schuster, NY 1997
*O'Gorman, James F., "H. H. Richardson: Architectural Forms for an American Society,"
University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1987
*O'Gorman, James F., "H. H. Richardson and His Office: Selected Drawings," David R. Godine, Boston 1974
*Roth, Leland M.,"A Concise History of American Architecture", Harper & Row publishers, NY, NY 1979
*Shand-Tucci, Douglas, "Built in Boston: City and Suburb, 1800 - 1950", University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA 1988
*Van Rensselaer, Mariana Griswold, "Henry Hobson Richardson and His Works", Dover Publications, Inc. NY 1959 (Reprint of 1888 edition)
*Van Trump, James D., "The Romanesque Revival in Pittsburgh," "Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians", Vol. 16, No. 3 (October 1957), pp. 22-29
* [http://www.sbra.com/ Richardson's present day successor firm, Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott]
*dmoz|Arts/Architecture/History/Architects/R/Richardson,_Henry_Hobson/|Henry Hobson Richardson
* [http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=105465992766854694968.00044f54bb4fc896e66ba&ll=43.317185,-73.24585&spn=3.7248,6.723633&z=7&layer=c The 53 extent Richardson sites and his Brookline, MA house]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.