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Rethinking Boston Brutalism

Explore the historical and social context of an architectural style that has put Boston on the international map

Boston Aquarium during construction

Tour Description

Like it or hate it, Boston is unarguably a center for Brutalism in America. Building with concrete represented one of the major architectural movements of the postwar era, but in Boston it was deployed in more numerous and diverse civic, cultural, residential, corporate, and academic projects than in any other major U.S. city.

Brutalism is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity. In 2024, we commemorate the 55th anniversary of two of Boston’s concrete gems—the New England Aquarium and Boston City Hall (the buildings that bookend the tour). Join us as we explore the historical and social context of an architectural style that has put Boston on the international map, but which Bostonians still love to hate.

Public Tour Calendar

Private Tours

This tour can be scheduled as a private tour with advance notice. Call 617.367.2345 or use our private tour webform to learn more.

Starting Location

Meet your guide outside the entrance to the New England Aquarium IMAX Theatre, Central Wharf.

Finding Your Guide: All guides carry an 8×11 sign that says “Boston By Foot Walking Tours.”

Nearest Accessible MBTA Station: Aquarium (Blue Line)

Ending Location

This tour ends in the general area of Boston City Hall.

Nearest Accessible MBTA Station: Government Center (Blue & Green Lines)

“Your tour was fantastic! Every group was amazed at your knowledge and great style in dealing with students. We all learned so much. The experience will help us when we read about this exciting time in our history. You are the talk of the school today... Thank you!”
— West Hartford, CT