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Building Conservation Associates

Hurley Building

Location: Boston, Massachusetts 
Year Built: 1971 
Original Architect: Paul Rudolph, Constantino Nivola – mural artist 

The Hurley Building is one of two buildings in the Boston Government Service Center. The Brutalist concrete structure, designed by Paul Rudolph, was completed in 1971. In the Lobby of the Hurley Building are two murals by Costantino Nivola. The murals, each measuring 25 feet tall and nearly 50 feet long, were created in 1969 by Nivola in his signature “Sgraffito” technique. Both murals depict the benefits of governmental service and assistance.

BCA was retained to conduct a study of the Constantino Nivola murals in the lobby of the Hurley Building. Research on Nivola was conducted to establish and understanding of the materials and methods he employed in to execute his unique Sgraffito technique. The hands-on survey determined the construction methods used to secure the murals to the wall, documented the current conditions of the murals by mapping damage, conducted cleaning tests to determine the best method for removing surface soiling, and evaluated the stability of the painted surfaces. A conservation plan was produced to inform future conservation work on the murals, which included the best cleaning methods for the murals, how to protect them during construction, and how to remove them if they will be relocated as part of future development of the building.