Don’t we all love to find hidden gems in the city, keep it to ourselves and enjoy the privacy of our accidental discoveries? In a city where you live your whole life it happens organically: you know all the tiny streets and squares, every nook and corner. Then one day while wondering about familiar streets you stumble upon something that was in front of you for years but for some reason never caught your attention before.

But what if it is a new city and you haven’t even covered all the official tourist destinations? You would still want to see those hidden gems to be able to brag about your almost-local-experience, right? In this case you google “hidden gems of Boston” which is pretty silly since those gems are obviously not so hidden anymore. But you do get some impressive results like this building on 101 Merrimac Street.

The atrium on Merrimack street

You head down there, thinking you are going to find a crowd and wait in line to take a picture, but nobody is there! Only this magnificent piece of art and yourself.

Richard Haas Mural |

The author of the project is Richard Haas. That’s what Paul Goldberger, architecture critic of Vanity Fair says about him:

“Richard Haas is an artist about architecture – he makes people stop and think about architecture and realize that buildings are not just a backdrop; they are also an active presence in our lives.

The art of Richard Haas is at once entirely realistic and quite fantastic…. He imagines architectural elements and then paints them in situations where they achieve a reality, almost a life of their own…”

To my mind, that’s the most romantic thing ever written about an architect. I assure you being in front of this beautiful painting does indeed bring you a sense of confusion. You cannot clearly distinct where reality ends and the painting begins.

101 Merrimac street |

The artist worked closely with the building’s architects to blend together built and painted areas. According to the artist’s website, this painting finished in 1990 “was the most ambitious interior project the artist had worked on to date, covering all the walls and the entire ceiling of a large atrium”.

101 Merrimac Street ceiling |

hidden gem of Boston

See all those empty tables? I can’t believe people don’t take advantage of having such an amazing place in the city center! Here’s what I would do: on a cold and snowy day I would come here with my homemade sandwich, take away coffee, and a laptop, and spend a couple of hours reading, writing or studying in this quiet palace. There is Au Bon Pain inside in case you are just passing by and didn’t prepare a sandwich in advance.

Address: 101 Merrimac Street Boston, MA

Building is open to public Monday through Friday

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