Sever Hall, on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, is one of the most important buildings designed by the architect H.H. Richardson. Constructed between 1878 and 1880 in Richardson’s Romanesque style, Sever Hall is notable for its brickwork, which features 100,000 bricks on the exterior elevations and elaborate brick carving. Red mortar was used originally to join the bricks. The facade also has Longmeadow brownstone and a varied placement of windows. The massive structure is linked to the neighboring eighteenth century buildings of Harvard Yard through the use of brick, the greater regularity of the design and the central pediments on the east and west facades. Sever Hall, an academic building consisting of both large and small classrooms, was recently restored and the upper floors contain the film program of Harvard’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies.
Left: 59 Mt. Vernon St.; Center: 57 Mt. Vernon St.;
Right: Nichols House Museum (55 Mt. Vernon St.);
Jonathan Mason, one of the Mount Vernon Proprietors (the group of real estate speculators who developed Boston’s Beacon Hill), commissioned the architect Charles Bulfinch to design a row of four houses (51-57 Mt. Vernon St.) for his daughters. Originally constructed in 1804, Nos. 55 & 57 both had side entrances on their west elevations, facing Mason’s mansion, which is no longer standing. In 1837, No. 59 (designed by Edward Shaw) was built to the west, blocking the entrance to No. 57, which was consequently moved to its current location on the front facade, facing Mt. Vernon St. Nos. 55-57 have had some notable residents.