SERT, JACKSON AND GOURLEY
Peabody Terrace, 1964

Peabody Terrace... connects high-, medium-, and low-rise elements with skip-stop elevators and bridges to achieve an economical but very livable urban density. Apartments are grouped vertically in clusters, avoiding the pigeonhole effect common to most multiple dwellings. Parking, a corner store, laundromat, nursery school, and tot lot make this a self-sufficient community. These three works by the Sert firm [Peabody Terrace, Holyoke Center, and the Science Center] fulfill an important university function: to provide a laboratory for the execution of architectural and urban design concepts that can be instructive to the larger community.

Boston Society of Architects Architecture Boston, 1976

A standardized concrete structural system was used throughout, but in the service of variation, proportion and an order based on human scale rather than bland repetition. The section of the towers was ingeniously arranged so that elevators stopped every third level and gave onto pleasant, glazed streets in the air with views to the surroundings rather than the usual dim corridors; access to the apartments was then direct, or by means of one easily negotiable stairs of one story.... The principles and some of the devices of the scheme relied on Le Corbusier’s urbanistic philosophy, and on prototypes like the Unité d ́Habitation at Marseilles, but the vocabulary of slender balconies, delicate frames, colored panels, etc., was distinctly Sert’s own.

William J. Curtis Boston: Forty Years of Modern Architecture, 1980

One may see Peabody Terrace as an extension of Le Corbusier’s communal prototype, the Unite d’Habitation at Marseilles. Such inherited principles as the street-in-the-air, the sunbreaker and the roof terrace, have been fused with the local courtyard tradition for student residences, and the imagery of light wooden balcony attachments of nearby buildings. A utopian vision of an alternative city, in which an ideal harmony of man, nature, and urban existence was implied, has thus been modulated, rendered less absolute, and wedded with a pre-existing context... Gradually a distinctive style began to emerge in which interior streets, irregular massing, textured facades, silhouettes of service towers, grill-like treatments of fenestration, silver-grey concrete and bright primary colors, all played a part.

Douglass Shand-Tucci Built in Boston, 1978