Click to enlarge - International Trust Company BuildingInternational Trust Company Building - 45 Milk St.

William Preston, 1893
Enlarged 1906

In today's world of steel and glass office buildings, this structure at 45 Milk St. in Boston is a reminder of what an office building using classic architectural elements is like. It also shows the limits of classical style.

Besides using classical elements such as arches and architectural carvings, the International Trust Company Building is classically structured. It has an obvious base, middle and top sections unlike the sky scraper pictured behind it.

The third, seventh and eight floors are horizontally defined by a series of arched windows. This helps define the building's visual center, floors four through six, which are framed by engaged columns into vertical thirds. Within this frame each side has a three-floor inset bay window which defines vertical strips up center.

Click to enlarge - 45 Milk St. Architectural carvings by Max Bachman enliven the facade, and help establish the structure's base and ornamented entry way to 45 Milk St.

While the intricacies of classical style work well on smaller buildings, today's far larger structures use simpler geometric repetition which emphasize their more expansive surfaces. A good example of this is the John Hancock Tower.

Unlike the International Trust Company Building with its ornate and well defined entrance, larger modern structures often struggle with creating human-sized openings in sleek monoliths.

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