Tuesday, February 20

Lessons of "lost Providence," A lecture by David Brussat


Lost Providence is a History Press book documenting the history of architectural change in Providence. Based on a 2014 column called “Providence’s 10 best lost buildings” by Mr. Brussat, the book and its descriptions of buildings lost takes many detours to visit buildings that still exist, offering lessons in preservation.

The book looks not just at lost buildings, but also lost plans since the 1840s — major urban projects, accomplished or not, that are disappearing from local memory, such as the Downtown Providence 1970 Plan, announced in 1960, or which are widely misunderstood, such as the College Hill Survey of 1959. Mr. Brussat’s description of the River Relocation Project and the Downcity Plan concludes the book on a note of confidence.


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David Brussat has been writing about architecture in Rhode Island and around the world for more than a quarter of a century. His just-published book, Lost Providence, is about the dynamic history of architectural change and urban planning in the city of Providence. Mr. Brussat is the former architectural columnist for the Providence Journal and his blog, Architecture Here and There, features daily posts advocating principles of design, urban planning, and traditional architecture.

Brussat won an Arthur Ross award for his writing from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art in 2002 and has served on the board of its New England chapter since 2005. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, in London. He was born in Chicago, grew up in the District of Columbia, moved to Providence in 1984, and lives with his wife, son and cat on the city's East Side.

Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: The Algonquin Club of Boston, 217 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02116
Tickets: $25 for Members $35 for General Public
AIA LUs offered

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Thursday, March 1

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"An Elegant and Lofty Steeple" a lecture by Aaron M. Helfand, AIA

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Recovering Peter Harrison's lost designs for the steeple of King's Chapel, Boston

In 1754, builders finished work on one of colonial Boston's most prominent landmarks: King's Chapel, designed by the famed architect Peter Harrison.  But the building was far from complete: the most impressive feature of the original design was a steeple, intended to surpass any other in the city.  Due to lack of funds, this was never built, leaving a square stump in its place.  What's more, Harrison's papers were destroyed during the American Revolution, leaving subsequent generations to wonder what his steeple might have looked like.  In this lecture, Helfand re-examines the historical evidence and combines 18th-century design principles with 21st-century technology to produce the most detailed vision of the missing steeple to date.

Date: Thursday, March 1, 2018
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: King's Chapel, 58 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02108
Tickets: $15 for Members $20 for General Public
AIA LUs offered



Wednesday, March 7

Peter Harrison (1716-1775), Greatest American Architect, a lecture by John Fitzhugh Millar

Peter Harrison (1716-1775), born in Yorkshire, UK, but for many years a resident of New England, is arguably the greatest architect who ever worked in America. A prodigy like Handel or Mozart, his first design at age 17 was for Wentworth-Woodhouse, still the largest private house in Europe. As a result of his having saved the British Empire from being conquered by the French in the 1740s, he was rewarded by being commissioned to design important buildings on every known continent. His papers were mostly destroyed after his death, so in spite of his having designed over 560 buildings he remains very little known on either side of the Atlantic. In 1745, he invented the first practical flush toilet, which he incorporated into his various hospital projects. He designed predominantly in a neo-Palladian style, and invented “wooden rustication,” a way of making a wooden structure look as if it were built of stone blocks. His best-known invention in furniture design is the coveted block-front (1738).

The late Wendell Garrett asked John Millar (a freshman at Harvard in 1962) to begin research on Harrison. The research has eventually resulted in two books: The Buildings of Peter Harrison: Cataloguing the Work of the First Global Architect 1716-1775, published 2014 by McFarland & Company, Inc. and Peter Harrison (1716-1775) Drawings, published 2015 by Thirteen Colonies Press. The work has taken 55 years.

Material-culture historian John Fitzhugh Millar (b. 1945) has written many published books on historic architecture, ships, dance, and general history. A book now in preparation concerns the work of Elizabeth Lady Wilbraham (1632-1705), the world’s first woman architect and Christopher Wren’s teacher. Millar is responsible for the construction of three full-sized, operational copies of Revolutionary War ships for the Bicentennial (the largest being the 24-gun frigate Rose, now in San Diego after having starred with Russell Crowe in Master & Commander). He lives in a Peter Harrison-designed house in Williamsburg, Virginia, which he runs as an historic bed & breakfast called Newport House.

Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Boston Athenaeum 10 ½ Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108
Tickets: $15 for Members $20 for General Public
AIA LUs offered

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Eighth Bulfinch Awards Gala and Ceremony

The ICAA’s national awards program, inaugurated in 1982 as the Arthur Ross Awards was a model for the New England chapter’s regional awards program, initiated in 2010 and named for New England’s most famous architect (and America's first native born architect), Charles Bulfinch. This year, the chapter continues to expan the scope for entries from work in New England by firms in New England to work in New England by firms from around the United States. The winners of the Bulfinch Awards will be recognized at a ceremonial reception and dinner gala in the Harvard Hall at the Harvard Club of Boston, designed by Parker, Thomas & Rice.


New Building in Old Cities: Architecture and Conservation in Historic Settings, a lecture by Steven W. Semes

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Can contemporary design and historic architecture be reconciled? The central paradox of historic preservation is how to harmonize old and new architecture, maintaining a distinction between historic fabric and new work while also maintaining a continuity of character. In recent decades, debate has tended to favor either visual harmony based on material and stylistic similarity or visual dissonance aimed at dramatizing the difference between work of the past and "the architecture of our time." Four strategies can be identified for relating old and new, ranging from literal replication to intentional opposition, with two intermediate positions, invention within a style and abstract reference. The talk will examine each of these, illustrated by examples, and then look at what guidance from the National Park Service, ICOMOS, UNESCO, and other bodies has to say about choosing the right approach, making the case for harmony over contrast.

Steven W. Semes is Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. He was Academic Director of the Notre Dame Rome Studies Program 2008-2011 and currently splits his teaching duties between Rome and the main campus. Educated at the University of Virginia and Columbia University, he is the author of The Future of the Past: A Conservation Ethic for Architecture, Urbanism, and Historic Preservation (2009) and The Architecture of the Classical Interior (2004). His many articles have appeared in The New Criterion, National Trust Forum Journal, Change Over Time, The Classicist, Traditional Building and Period Homes. He has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. His blog, The View from Rome appeared 2010-15. From 2013 to 2015 he was Editor of The Classicist for the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA), and was a Fellow and member of the ICAA faculty from 1997 to 2005. His current research focuses on the traditional architects of the inter-war period in Rome. Prior to joining the Notre Dame faculty in 2005, he practiced architecture for over thirty years in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

Date: September 2018
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: The College Club of Boston, 44 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02116
Tickets: TBD

Recent Events

Saturday, December 9

Edgartown Walking Tour - In Celebration of the 'Christmas in Edgartown' Weekend Festival


Friends and members of the New England Chapter of the ICAA joined award-winning architect Patrick Ahearn on Saturday, December 9th, for a walking tour in historic Edgartown, as Patrick discussed the history of Martha’s Vineyard architecture and how the town of Edgartown has evolved over the years.

Tuesday, October 17

Member Cocktail Party

New England Chapter of the ICAA's members met at Seven Tide on Tuesday, October 17th to formally announce the 2018 Bulfinch Awards call for entries.

Friday, September 29, 2017


The ICAA-New England partnered with David Neligan Antiques and the Boston Design Center for a lecture with Dr. Wolf Burchard on the topics addressed in his book, The Sovereign Artist: Charles Le Brun and the Image of Louis XIV. King Louis XIV’s favorite artist, Charles Le Brun, has often been described as a dictator of the arts in France. Le Brun was a gifted and versatile artist, an excellent painter and designer of tapestries, sculpture, architecture and furniture. As Louis XIV’s principal painter and director of the Gobelins manufactory, he sought to translate the Sun King’s claim for absolute power into a visual form. This lecture explored Le Brun’s different fields of activities and his relationship to the great monarch.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


A Walking Tour of Classic Bristol, Rhode Island

Tree lined streets with stately Federal and Greek Revival houses bear witness to Bristol’s storied past. This tour explored the work of architect Russell Warren, an important early American architect who adapted the classical tradition in innovative ways in both grand and modest designs. A native Rhode Islander, Warren worked in Bristol, Newport, Providence, New Bedford and developed a national practice, bringing him commissions as far as Charleston, South Carolina.

Saturday, April 26, 2017

Bulfinch Awards Morning Lecture 

This year’s morning lecture "In the Footsteps of Vitruvius; Design and Construction Durability Lessons Learned from the Hands-on Study of Two Thousand Years of Historic Construction," by Matthew Bronski, P.E. was held at the Algonquin Club in Boston. This lecture derived from Bronski’s 2009-10 Rome Prize project, where his hands-on research of buildings in Italy spanning over 2,000 years diagnosed successes and failures in the durability attributable to design and detailing, to derive lessons and principles for designing buildings more durably (and hence more sustainably) today.

Saturday, April 26, 2017

Bulfinch Awards Keynote Lecture 

This year’s Keynote Lecture, "Modern Principles of Classical Architecture Disproved by the Renaissance," was delivered at the Algonquin Club in Boston, by Duncan G. Stroik, a 2016 ICAA Ross Award winner, a practicing architect, an author, and Professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame. His award-winning work includes Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel in California, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Wisconsin, and Saint Joseph Cathedral in South Dakota.

Saturday, April 26, 2017

Seventh Bulfinch Awards Gala and Ceremony

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The winners of the Bulfinch Awards were recognized at a ceremonial reception and dinner gala in the Harvard Hall at the Harvard Club of Boston, designed by Parker, Thomas & Rice.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Continued Relevance of Classicism in Contemporary Design: A Roundtable Discussion

To celebrate Boston Design Week, the New England Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA-NE) partnered with the Boston Design Center (BDC) to host a panel that discussed the continued relevance of Classicism from the perspectives of Architecture, Interior Design, Urban Planning and Cognitive Science, where recent findings support the idea that people thrive in environments based upon classical design principles. Moderated by Eric Daum, the panelists were Oliver Bouchier, Ann Sussman, John Tittmann and Leslie-jon Vickory.




Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lecture with Ann Sussman
Buildings, Biology +The 21st Century Paradigm Shift: How Biometrics will Change Understanding of the Architectural Experience

A lively group gathered at the College Club of Boston to hear Ann Sussman review new findings in biology and neuroscience that outline what our brain expects to see, including how it's hard-wired to avoid looking at blank facades, most quickly processes bilaterally symmetric things - and is preset to look for faces or face-like objects without any conscious input on our part. The lecture reviewed some biometric tools that can help us better understand our architectural experience. Ann explained that we’re now able - finally - to collect the hard data on how buildings make people feel.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Classical Newport: Exploring the 18th Century Landmarks of Newport Rhode Island 

A memorable walking tour of Historic Hill and Point districts, led by NE Chapter board member and Architectural Historian John Tschirch explored the landmark public buildings, houses and streetscapes of Newport, one of the most historically intact 18th century cities in America.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Olmsted’s Muddy River Restored: Re-linking the Emerald Necklace

On a lovely early autumn day, attendees gathered on The Fens for a tour of the recently completed restoration of the Muddy River. The tour was guided by Margaret Dyson, Director of Historic Parks at the Boston Parks & Recreation Department.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Tour of New Haven and the Yale Center for British Art

This full-day tour, led by Aaron Helfand and David Lewis, focused on the architecture and urban design of downtown New Haven and Yale University.  The tour began on the New Haven Green, with a discussion of the city's original nine-square plan and the growth of Yale's campus in relation to the city, followed by a visit to several landmark buildings and a trip to the Yale Center for British Art.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Board Member Cocktail Party at Marvin Showroom, 7 Tide Street Boston, MA


ICAA New England Chapter members enjoyed a fun night in an amazing space at 7Tide – with no shortage of good conversation and inspiration. 


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rejuvenating a Colonial Era Landmark: Christ Church Cambridge

Saturday, April 23, 2016

6th Bulfinch Awards Ceremony Gala

Saturday, April 23, 2016

6th Bulfinch Awards Keynote Lecture by Justin Shubow

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Royal Oak Boston Lecture- The Grand(er) Tour: Architectural Imagination Beyond the Classical World
Abraham Thomas, Architectural Historian

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

William Hodgins Interiors: Lecture and Book-signing by Author Stephen M. Salny

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Historic Berkshire County: A guided expedition to 'The Mount' and 'Naumkeag'

Friday, March 27, 2015

Americans in Paris: Talk and Book-signing by Co-author Margot M. Ellis- Americans in Paris: Foundations of America’s Architectural Gilded Age, Architecture Students at the École des Beaux-Arts 1846-1946

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cognitive Architecture: An Evening with Author Ann Sussman

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Landscape Architecture & Architecture of Wellesley College

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Guided Tour of Architecturally Significant Homes of Salem, MA