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The Plywood Palace

Clarendon Street and St. James Place, Back Bay


The John Hancock Building is Boston's tallest, at 60 stories. Today, it's a sleek, glass rhomboid. But it was briefly the world's tallest plywood builing. Shortly after its construction in 1975, its windows began falling out. This posed something of a problem given that that building was all glass - and each window weighed 500 pounds. Until they could figure out the problem, engineers replaced all the windows with plywood.

In 1988, Paul Tavilla of Arlington got into the Guinness Book of World Records by using his mouth to catch a grape tossed off the top of the Hancock.

Builder Faced Bigger Crisis Than Falling Windows - Robert Campbell's Pulitzer-winning history of the building's problems.



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