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The interior of the MIT chapel. There are rows of chairs and a stage. The walls are red brick. Shutterstock

Boston's most iconic modern buildings, mapped

These gems include works from Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Josep Sert, I.M. Pei, and Frank Gehry

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The Boston area is undoubtedly best-known architecturally for its federal-style buildings from the late 18th and early 19th centuries (think the Massachusetts State House or any number of townhouses in Back Bay and Beacon Hill).

But the region has more than a fair smattering of modern architectural gems from the late 20th century, including those born of and inspired by the Bauhaus movement that turns 100 in 2019.

These 16 buildings are the best of the best modern architecture in Boston and Cambridge. The forces behind their design read like a who's who of architects from the past 75 years: Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Josep Sert, I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and more.

If you think we've left out any particularly striking examples, let us know in the comments section below.

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Community Rowing Boathouse

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Anmahian Winton Architects designed this structure, which opened in 2008 and is exactly what its name implies: a boathouse beside the Charles.

In 2009, the design won the Boston Society of Architects' Harleston Parker Medal, which honors what its backers call "the single most beautiful building or other structure" built in the Boston area during the previous 10 years.

Two people carry a row boat on a ramp attached to a building. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Harkness Commons

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Bauhaus giant Walter Gropius' Architects Collaborative designed this graduate-student complex in the late 1940s.

The factory-like, brutally functional buildings were a milestone in modern architecture in the United States, including the distinction of being the first modern buildings on Harvard's campus.

"Harvard Decides to 'Build Modern'"—that was the headline in the October 25, 1948 New York Times, complete with the quotation marks around "Build Modern."

The exterior of Harkness Commons at Harvard Law School. The building is white. There are people in front of the building. Getty Images

Harvard Science Center

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One of Le Corbusier's top proteges was Josep Sert, who ran Harvard's architecture and design faculty for much of the mid-1900s.

Sert’s Science Center design was a deliberately modernist departure from all the more classical, Georgian architecture at the surrounding university.

It went up in the early 1970s.

The exterior of the Harvard Science Center. There are many buildings. Gunnar Klack/Wikimedia

Peabody Terrace

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Josep Sert designed the three-spire Harvard complex of graduate-student housing, which went up in the early 1960s and opened in 1964.

The towers were an attempt to, as the Catalan Sert described it, "bring the color and life of the Mediterranean" to the banks of the Charles.

In the foreground is a body of water with people in row boats. In the distance are city buildings. Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts

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Harvard's visual arts center is the only completed project in North America from French architect Le Corbusier (he collaborated with Chilean architect Guillermo Jullian de la Fuente).

The curved building opened in 1963.

The exterior of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Boston Globe via Getty Images

M.I.T. Simmons Hall (Building W79)

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Steven Holl Architects designed this 350-bed, 196,000-square-foot dormitory at the turn of the century with the idea of fostering interaction in mind.

Hence its porous, sponge-like appearance and setup, including some 6,000 open-able windows.

The exterior of the M.I.T Simmons Hall. Moment Editorial/Getty Images

Baker House

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Finnish architect Alvar Aalto described this six-story M.I.T. dorm that he designed as a mix between a ski lodge and a ship.

It went up in the late 1940s.

The interior of the Baker House. There are tables, chairs, and a staircase. Getty Images

M.I.T. Kresge Auditorium (Building W16)

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Eero Saarinen designed this auditorium in the early 1950s and the university dedicated it in 1955, the same year it dedicated the Saarinen-designed chapel nearby.

The auditorium is one of the more famous midcentury modern buildings in America and its acoustics are quite sublime.

The exterior of the M.I.T. Auditorium. The roof is green and sloped. Shutterstock

M.I.T. Chapel (Building W15)

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Eero Saarinen designed this non-denominational chapel, which the university dedicated in 1955.

It is 30 feet high and 50 feet in diameter, and features a striking skylight over a white marble altar.

The interior of the MIT chapel. There are rows of chairs and a stage. The walls are red brick. Shutterstock

Art of the Americas @ MFA

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This 121,037-square-foot wing of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts opened in late 2010. Norman Foster's London firm designed it in collaboration with CBT Architects of Boston.

Critic Ada Louise Huxtable described it as a "discreet addition" to Guy Lowell's original Beaux Arts building, which went up almost exactly a century before.

The interior of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. UIG via Getty Images

M.I.T. Stata Center (Building 32)

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This 720,000-square-foot academic hub is one of the region's most famous buildings, period.

The Frank Gehry-designed structure was completed in 2004 to pretty much universal acclaim.

Here was the Globe's Robert Campbell at the time: "Everything looks improvised, as if thrown up at the last moment. That's the point. The Stata's appearance is a metaphor for the freedom, daring, and creativity of the research that's supposed to occur inside it."

The exterior of the M.I.T. Stata Center. The facade is angled and sloped. Shutterstock

M.I.T. Media Lab — Building E14

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This six-story, 163,000-square-foot building opened in 2010 next to the existing home of M.I.T.’s Media Lab, the Wiesner Building, which I.M. Pei designed.

Fumihiko Maki and Associates, in association with Leers Weinzapfel Associates, designed the addition.

The exterior of the M.I.T. Media Lab. There is a street in the foreground that people are crossing. Wikipedia

200 Clarendon

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The tower formerly known as the John Hancock is New England’s tallest building at 790 feet, a distinction it has held since construction of the Henry Cobb-designed spire wrapped in 1976.

A tall skyscraper with many windows. Shutterstock

Boston City Hall

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Boston's City Hall has been an architectural punching bag since its completion in 1968 (it often makes lists of "ugliest buildings").

Kallmann, McKinnell & Knowles, then professors at Columbia, won an international competition to design the civic hub and pivoted from more traditional fare as well as from sleek, glassiness to a brutalist design that still perplexes the masses some 50 years on.

The exterior of the Boston City Hall. The building has a flat roof and many windows. Shutterstock

Institute of Contemporary Art

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The museum itself dates from 1936, but this striking iteration opened in 2006. Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed it.

It, too, took home the Harleston Parker Medal from the Boston Society of Architects.

A contemporary art museum with gigantic windows and a prominent overhang lighted up at night. Shutterstock

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

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I.M. Pei designed this repository for all things related to the nation's 35th president, whose life was bound up with his native region.

A nine-story concrete tower joins with a glass-and-steel pavilion to give the building its striking appearance.

The library and museum opened in 1979.

A modern building housing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Boston’s waterfront. Shutterstock

Community Rowing Boathouse

Two people carry a row boat on a ramp attached to a building. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Anmahian Winton Architects designed this structure, which opened in 2008 and is exactly what its name implies: a boathouse beside the Charles.

In 2009, the design won the Boston Society of Architects' Harleston Parker Medal, which honors what its backers call "the single most beautiful building or other structure" built in the Boston area during the previous 10 years.

Two people carry a row boat on a ramp attached to a building. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Harkness Commons

The exterior of Harkness Commons at Harvard Law School. The building is white. There are people in front of the building. Getty Images

Bauhaus giant Walter Gropius' Architects Collaborative designed this graduate-student complex in the late 1940s.

The factory-like, brutally functional buildings were a milestone in modern architecture in the United States, including the distinction of being the first modern buildings on Harvard's campus.

"Harvard Decides to 'Build Modern'"—that was the headline in the October 25, 1948 New York Times, complete with the quotation marks around "Build Modern."

The exterior of Harkness Commons at Harvard Law School. The building is white. There are people in front of the building. Getty Images

Harvard Science Center

The exterior of the Harvard Science Center. There are many buildings. Gunnar Klack/Wikimedia

One of Le Corbusier's top proteges was Josep Sert, who ran Harvard's architecture and design faculty for much of the mid-1900s.

Sert’s Science Center design was a deliberately modernist departure from all the more classical, Georgian architecture at the surrounding university.

It went up in the early 1970s.

The exterior of the Harvard Science Center. There are many buildings. Gunnar Klack/Wikimedia

Peabody Terrace

In the foreground is a body of water with people in row boats. In the distance are city buildings. Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Josep Sert designed the three-spire Harvard complex of graduate-student housing, which went up in the early 1960s and opened in 1964.

The towers were an attempt to, as the Catalan Sert described it, "bring the color and life of the Mediterranean" to the banks of the Charles.

In the foreground is a body of water with people in row boats. In the distance are city buildings. Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts

The exterior of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Harvard's visual arts center is the only completed project in North America from French architect Le Corbusier (he collaborated with Chilean architect Guillermo Jullian de la Fuente).

The curved building opened in 1963.

The exterior of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Boston Globe via Getty Images

M.I.T. Simmons Hall (Building W79)

The exterior of the M.I.T Simmons Hall. Moment Editorial/Getty Images

Steven Holl Architects designed this 350-bed, 196,000-square-foot dormitory at the turn of the century with the idea of fostering interaction in mind.

Hence its porous, sponge-like appearance and setup, including some 6,000 open-able windows.

The exterior of the M.I.T Simmons Hall. Moment Editorial/Getty Images

Baker House

The interior of the Baker House. There are tables, chairs, and a staircase. Getty Images

Finnish architect Alvar Aalto described this six-story M.I.T. dorm that he designed as a mix between a ski lodge and a ship.

It went up in the late 1940s.

The interior of the Baker House. There are tables, chairs, and a staircase. Getty Images

M.I.T. Kresge Auditorium (Building W16)

The exterior of the M.I.T. Auditorium. The roof is green and sloped. Shutterstock

Eero Saarinen designed this auditorium in the early 1950s and the university dedicated it in 1955, the same year it dedicated the Saarinen-designed chapel nearby.

The auditorium is one of the more famous midcentury modern buildings in America and its acoustics are quite sublime.

The exterior of the M.I.T. Auditorium. The roof is green and sloped. Shutterstock

M.I.T. Chapel (Building W15)

The interior of the MIT chapel. There are rows of chairs and a stage. The walls are red brick. Shutterstock

Eero Saarinen designed this non-denominational chapel, which the university dedicated in 1955.

It is 30 feet high and 50 feet in diameter, and features a striking skylight over a white marble altar.

The interior of the MIT chapel. There are rows of chairs and a stage. The walls are red brick. Shutterstock

Art of the Americas @ MFA

The interior of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. UIG via Getty Images

This 121,037-square-foot wing of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts opened in late 2010. Norman Foster's London firm designed it in collaboration with CBT Architects of Boston.

Critic Ada Louise Huxtable described it as a "discreet addition" to Guy Lowell's original Beaux Arts building, which went up almost exactly a century before.

The interior of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. UIG via Getty Images

M.I.T. Stata Center (Building 32)

The exterior of the M.I.T. Stata Center. The facade is angled and sloped. Shutterstock

This 720,000-square-foot academic hub is one of the region's most famous buildings, period.

The Frank Gehry-designed structure was completed in 2004 to pretty much universal acclaim.

Here was the Globe's Robert Campbell at the time: "Everything looks improvised, as if thrown up at the last moment. That's the point. The Stata's appearance is a metaphor for the freedom, daring, and creativity of the research that's supposed to occur inside it."

The exterior of the M.I.T. Stata Center. The facade is angled and sloped. Shutterstock

M.I.T. Media Lab — Building E14

The exterior of the M.I.T. Media Lab. There is a street in the foreground that people are crossing. Wikipedia

This six-story, 163,000-square-foot building opened in 2010 next to the existing home of M.I.T.’s Media Lab, the Wiesner Building, which I.M. Pei designed.

Fumihiko Maki and Associates, in association with Leers Weinzapfel Associates, designed the addition.

The exterior of the M.I.T. Media Lab. There is a street in the foreground that people are crossing. Wikipedia

200 Clarendon

A tall skyscraper with many windows. Shutterstock

The tower formerly known as the John Hancock is New England’s tallest building at 790 feet, a distinction it has held since construction of the Henry Cobb-designed spire wrapped in 1976.

A tall skyscraper with many windows. Shutterstock

Boston City Hall

The exterior of the Boston City Hall. The building has a flat roof and many windows. Shutterstock

Boston's City Hall has been an architectural punching bag since its completion in 1968 (it often makes lists of "ugliest buildings").

Kallmann, McKinnell & Knowles, then professors at Columbia, won an international competition to design the civic hub and pivoted from more traditional fare as well as from sleek, glassiness to a brutalist design that still perplexes the masses some 50 years on.

The exterior of the Boston City Hall. The building has a flat roof and many windows. Shutterstock

Institute of Contemporary Art

A contemporary art museum with gigantic windows and a prominent overhang lighted up at night. Shutterstock

The museum itself dates from 1936, but this striking iteration opened in 2006. Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed it.

It, too, took home the Harleston Parker Medal from the Boston Society of Architects.