Boston's architecture is marked by diversity and by a sometimes astonishing juxtaposition of styles, periods, and purposes. The work of H. H. Richardson stands its ground across the street from I. M. Pei's; Charles Bulfinch's State House (1795), at the summit of Beacon Hill, looks down on Paul Rudolph's state office buildings; the magnificent new City Hall is separated from Faneuil Hall only by Sam Adams (in bronze)— and both equally well accommodate today's public debates, as one also did before the Revolution.
Yet, in spite of this diversity, there are whole sections of the city that have their own unmistakable character—a historic/architectural cohesion that immediately impresses itself on the mental map of those who pass through them. In picture and in text (which briefly recounts their history and prospects) some of the most important of these sections are exhibited and described. These are Beacon Hill, the Back Bay, the Fenway, the Central Business District (including the new Government Center), the Waterfront, the South End, Roxbury and Washington Park, and the city of Cambridge. Maps of these sections, pinpointing the buildings pictured, are also included.