The Boston Society of Architects/AIA (BSA) reaches its sesquicentennial anniversary in 2017. To celebrate its history as its gaze turns toward the future, each week throughout the year the BSA will publish a new essay from a leader or ally of the organization. Also, an exhibition focusing on the BSA's achievements over the last 150 years will be mounted at BSA Space.
A Farewell to Presidents
Peter Forbes FAIA, 1989 BSA president
If this were enough of a recollection, it would have everything in it.* It would have Jim Lawrence taking me to lunch at the Tavern Club to convince me to run for the presidency of the BSA and my saying I didn’t have the requisite diplomatic skills, to which “gentleman” Jim replied in that patrician New England voice, “Precisely!” and Earl Flansburgh FAIA Emeritus saying, “Peter, it doesn’t matter whether you want to, you have to.”
I arrived in Boston at age 17 to attend journalism school at
Boston University. It was my first time away from home,
and I imprinted on this city like a newborn duckling.
President Bill Clinton was closing military bases as part
of his budget-cutting strategy. Fort Devens in
Massachusetts was one of the bases to be closed...
It wasn’t long after Hubert Murray FAIA’s admission to the
previous presidents’ club that Richard Fitzgerald took me
to my inaugural lunch.
Nearly 30 years back, my BSA presidency was
sandwiched between two Peters, a Hopkinson and a
Forbes; a New York City bagel and an Italian roll...