Photo by Carol M. Highsmith
Partly on the strength of his Boston social connections, Charles McKim of McKim, Mead & White won the commission for the original Boston Public Library. The elaborately detailed Renaissance Revival building marked a distinct change in the direction of American architecture. Philip Johnson designed a Modern addition to the library in the 1970s. The newer building shares the same proportions and light-colored granite as the original but is as sparse as the original is detailed.