Remansioning a Back Bay mansion

The Ames-Webster Mansion

The Ames-Webster Mansion

The Ames-Webster Mansion, on Dartmouth Street in Boston’s Back Bay, will soon be renovated. A press release forwarded to me by John Margolis, president of the New England chapter (on whose board I sit) of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, describes the upcoming work by Hamady Architects as a “large-scale renovation,” which would normally have the hairs on the back of my neck standing at full attention.

However, since Hamady is partnering with the chapter to offer a two-day course, March 7 and 8, on the mansion’s history and on its upcoming renovation, my fears are assuaged. Hamady may be, I can only trust, relied upon to pay utmost respect in its renovation to the mansion’s extraordinary artistic resources. First of all, it was originally designed in 1871 by the firm of Peabody & Stearns. Later, carving and murals by Beaux-Arts painter Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant and a glass skylight by John LaFarge were installed.

The course, which costs $260 for the public and $210 for ICAA members, will thoroughly consider the house, its craftsmanship and its prospects under the guidance of Hamady Architects. The firm’s head, Kahlil Hamady, who is on the national board of the ICAA, will participate. The first day will consist of historical and preservation lectures and a major craft demonstration; the second day will consist of drawing, guided by instructors, of the building’s exterior, interior and details.

Reservations are first come, first served. The course location is at the mansion itself, 306 Dartmouth St., where lunch will be provided for the two days, Friday, March 7 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Saturday, March 8, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The course is worth 15 continuing-education credits. Please find more information and register here.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Architecture Education, Architecture History, Art and design, Preservation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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