The Hidden Meaning of Herringbone


I have always liked the brick herringbone sidewalk in front of the McKim Mead & White apartment building at the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets (with the Starbucks on the ground floor). I discovered this example today at the corner of Marlborough and Berkeley Streets and next to the Belluschi-designed Lutheran church. I like the way the pattern negotiates the ups and downs of the terrain – as if it were an old rug on an uneven floor.  But it turns out that herringbone brick isn’t so innocent of ideological baggage to landscape architects. It connotes a certain period of post-modernism to Reed Hilderbrand, our collaborators on City Hall Plaza and the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion, for example. Who knew?


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