Boston Public Library Exhibit “Palaces For The People: Guastavino And America’s Great Public Spaces”

The Rafael Guastavino family, contributed to the design and construction of more than 1,000 vaulted ceilings here and abroad during the 1880s through the 1950s. They excelled at designing the domed-ceiling that spanned large spaces, including Grand Central Station, Carnegie Hall, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and the Registry Hall at Ellis Island. These beautifully decorative tile ceilings represent one of the highest achievements of the American building arts. The Guastavino presence in Boston was also profound: their masterpieces include the Boston Public Library, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and the Massachusetts State House. The Guastavinos retained Wallace Clement Sabine in the early 1900s to develop a sound absorbing tile to control reverberation in most public spaces. A patent for Guastavino “Akustolith” was issued in 1915. Professor Ochsendorf will discuss some difficulties this created for organ and choral music and the corrective treatments that have been used for both speech and music.

Date and Time
Thursday, January 17, 2013
6:00 PM – Overview and Guided Tour
Please enter the BPL by the Copley Square entrance on Dartmouth St. The exhibit is immediately to your left as you enter the main lobby.

Boston Public Library McKim Building (
700 Boylston St, (please use Dartmouth Street entrance)
Boston, MA 02116

Parking is available at several nearby garages, including:
Prudential Center Parking
Copley Place Parking

Public Transportation
MBTA Green Line to Copley Station
MBTA Orange Line to Back Bay Station

This meeting is free and open to the public. There is not a suggested donation for this event

None required.

Refreshments will not be served at this event. A number of restaurants are located in the vicinity. The BPL sandwich shop closes promptly at 5pm, where copies of Prof. Oschendorf’s book are available for purchase.