City considers landmarking Children’s building

May 17, 2013
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The Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) is currently reviewing a petition to landmark the 55 Shattuck St. building on the Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) campus, according to BLC Executive Director Ellen Lipsey. The Friends of Historic Mission Hill filed the petition last year. The building is planned for demolition.

There is no timeframe for the review.

“The petition was submitted to call attention to a beautiful building, whose history is largely unknown [to the general public],” said Alison Pultinas of Friends of Historic Mission Hill.

In a statement that was read by Pultinas at the petition hearing, the building is described as having features that include a “monumental ionic portico framed by the two lampposts with lion heads, the pediment with griffins and the bronze doorway on the east facade.”

The building was originally a hospital for infants starting in 1914 before being purchased in 1921 to become the headquarters for the Harvard School of Public Health, according to the statement. During the 1970s, it was purchased by BCH, becoming an administration building.

Under BCH’s Institutional Master Plan (IMP), which was filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) in October, the building would be replaced with a new clinical building at the corner of Shattuck Street and Meadow Lane on BCH’s main campus. An IMP is a comprehensive development plan that describes an institution’s existing facilities, long-range planning goals and proposed projects.

The new building would also controversially replace the Prouty Garden, which sits behind 55 Shattuck.

“No decision has been made regarding potential changes at 55 Shattuck,” said BCH spokesperson Rob Graham, meaning that it’s just a plan right now. “A process is underway with the Boston Landmarks Commission to determine the historical significance of this structure, as it relates to the potential future development of this site for a new clinical building.”

He said the BLC process is part of the larger IMP Amendment review with the Boston Redevelopment Agency and no final approvals have yet been obtained for the IMP.

The Gazette visited the 55 Shattuck St. building and the garden. The building is largely hidden from public view on the backside of BCH’s campus and the garden can only be reached by going inside the hospital.

The 55 Shattuck St. building on the Boston Children’s Hospital campus. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

The 55 Shattuck St. building on the Boston Children’s Hospital campus. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

The Prouty Garden on the Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) campus during a Gazette visit this week. More than 5,000 people have signed a petition on change.org asking BCH to save the garden, which the hospital wants to replace with a tower. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

The Prouty Garden on the Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) campus during a Gazette visit this week. More than 5,000 people have signed a petition on change.org asking BCH to save the garden, which the hospital wants to replace with a tower. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

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