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The 2012–2013 Lowell Lecture Series: Common Ground

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The 2012-2013 Lowell Lecture Series celebrated public spaces and their creators, chroniclers, and communities of users. This series was part of the library's Building Boston initiative. from the series below.

See the main Lowell Lecture series page for a list of all past series.

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Thurs.
Oct. 11,
2012
6:00 p.m.

Rabb Lecture Hall
David Macaulay

David Macaulay

From the pyramids of Egypt to the skyscrapers of New York City, the human race's great architectural and engineering accomplishments have been demystified through David Macaulay's elaborate show-and-tells. Born in 1946, David Macaulay moved from England to New Jersey at the age of eleven. He began to draw seriously and after graduating from high school, he enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). He published his first lavishly illustrated book, Cathedral, in 1973.

Following in this tradition, Macaulay created other books – notably, City, Castle, Pyramid, Mill, Underground, Unbuilding, and Mosque – that have provided the explanations of the architectural how and why in a way that is both accessible and entertaining. His detailed illustrations and sly humor have earned him fans of all ages, and five titles have been made into popular PBS television programs.

Macaulay is perhaps best known for the award-winning international bestseller The Way Things Work, which was expanded and updated in 1998 and renamed The New Way Things Work. His books have sold more than three million copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. His many awards include the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, and the Washington Post–Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006 he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Browse all of David Macaulay's books held by the Boston Public Library.

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Tues.
Nov. 13,
2012
6:00 p.m.

Rabb Lecture Hall
Robert Campbell and Peter Vanderwarker

Cityscapes of Boston by Campbell and Vanderwarker

Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell and photographer Peter Vanderwarker co-authored Cityscapes of Boston: An American City through Time (1994), which explored Boston past and present and the rise, fall, and evolution of urban centers. The Chicago Tribune wrote that Cityscapes of Boston “belongs on the bookshelf of anyone who cares about the fate of the American city.”

 

Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell received the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his writing on architecture. He has been in private practice as an architect since 1975 and has served as a consultant to cultural institutions and cities, most recently as a member of the building committee for an addition to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. He received the 2004 Award of Honor of the Boston Society of Architects, “in recognition of outstanding contributions to architecture and to the profession.” Mr. Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Peter Vanderwarker

Peter Vanderwarker is a freelance photographer and author whose work interprets both natural and man-made environments. His prints are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Addison Gallery of American Art. He is the author or co-author of four books, including The Big Dig: Reshaping an American City. Mr. Vanderwarker holds a degree in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University in 1996 and 1997.

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Tues.
Nov. 20,
2012
6:00 p.m.

Rabb Lecture Hall
Justice Stephen Breyer and Judge Douglas Woodlock

Stephen Breyer

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is a graduate of Stanford University, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School. He taught law for many years as a professor at Harvard Law School and at the Kennedy School of Government. In 1980 he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President Carter, becoming Chief Judge in 1990. In 1994 he was appointed a Supreme Court Justice by President Clinton. Justice Breyer has always had a special interest in architecture: he helped oversee the design and construction of the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse and Harbor park in Boston and wrote the foreword to Celebrating the Courthouse: A Guide for Architects, Their Clients, and the Public.

Douglas Woodlock

Douglas P. Woodlock was appointed a United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts in 1986. He was a charter member of the Space, Facilities and Security Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, developing design standards for federal courthouses nationally. Judge Woodlock was also chairman of the new Boston Federal Courthouse Building Committee supervising on behalf of the courts the design and construction of the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse on Boston's Fan Pier. In 1996 he received the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture from the American Institute of Architects.

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Wed.
Dec. 5,
2012
6:00 p.m.

Rabb Lecture Hall
John Ochsendorf

John Ochsendorf

John Ochsendorf is Associate Professor of Architecture and Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, where he researches the mechanics of historic monuments and the design of more sustainable buildings. Ochsendorf studied civil engineering and archaeology at Cornell University, before earning a master's degree in civil engineering from Princeton University and a PhD in engineering from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Guastavino Vaulting: The Art of Structural Tile (2010), which provides new insights into the work of Rafael Guastavino – a Spanish immigrant, innovative builder, and visionary architect – and his son Rafael Jr. Together, father and son contributed to the design and construction of structural tile vaulting in over one thousand major buildings across the United States.

Ochsendorf directs the Guastavino research project at MIT and is the curator of Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America's Great Public Spaces, the first major exhibition celebrating the Guastavino Company and its architectural legacy, now on view at the Central Library through February 24, 2013. Ochsendorf has received numerous international awards, including a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, the Edoardo Benvenuto Prize in mechanics and architecture from Genoa, and a MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

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Thurs.
Jan. 24,
2013
6:00 p.m.

Rabb Lecture Hall
Maya Lin

Maya LinMaya Lin has created a remarkable body of work that includes large-scale site-specific installations, intimate studio artworks, architecture, and memorials. Her artwork has been shown in museum and gallery exhibitions in the United States and around the world. Amongst other projects, Lin is currently working on a new laboratory research facility for Novartis in Cambridge, MA.

A committed environmentalist, she is also at work on her last memorial, What is Missing?, a multi-sited artwork that raises awareness about the current crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss.

Lin graduated from Yale University receiving a BA in 1981 and an MA in 1986, and has maintained a professional studio in New York City since then. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in 2009.

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Thurs.
Mar. 7,
2013
6:00 p.m.

Rabb Lecture Hall
Janet Marie Smith

Janet Marie Smith

Janet Marie Smith served as Senior Vice President of Planning and Development for the Boston Red Sox from 2002 to 2009, overseeing the preservation of historic Fenway Park and leading the program that placed this significant ballpark on the National Historic Register. In 2012, the Boston Baseball Writers honored Smith with a Special Achievement Award for her work at Fenway Park. Smith previously worked for the Orioles from 1989-94 as Vice President of Planning and Development during the design and construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

As of August, 2012, Smith has joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as Senior Vice President of Planning and Development to oversee upgrades and enhancements to Dodger Stadium. Smith holds a Masters degree in Urban Planning from City College of New York and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Mississippi State University.

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The Lowell Lecture series is generously sponsored by the Lowell Institute, established in 1836 with the specific mission of making great ideas accessible to all people, free of charge. During the series' long history, speakers have included Charles Dickens, William James, Margaret Mead, William Makepeace Thackeray and, more recently, Salman Rushdie, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, and Dennis Lehane.

Rabb Lecture Hall is wheelchair accessible. Assistive listening devices are available. To request a sign language interpreter or for help with other special needs, call 617.859.2295 or 617.536.7055 (TTY) at least two weeks before the program.

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