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New ways to appreciate Boston’s architecture

A mural of Boston Beacon Hill.
A mural of Boston Beacon Hill. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff/File)

Want to see some of America’s greatest architecture? Look up.

Better yet, look down, at the new American Institute of Architects Guide to Boston Architecture app. Or through the virtual reality installations on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Or around the house designed for himself by Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School, who came to Harvard and settled in Lincoln after being chased from Germany by the Nazis.

Boston is among America’s most architecturally distinctive cities, something there are new ways to appreciate.

“Chicago seems to have claimed the mantle of being the place where architecture is a key theme. In Boston, if you asked people what the key theme was, they’d say history. If it wasn’t for that, I think it belongs in the top ranks for architecture,” said Tom Pounds, publisher of the AIA guide.

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Pull out the app and learn about the buildings around you whose details you may not have noticed, or take a walking tour of architecturally rich neighborhoods.

“People do gravitate to these really distinctive neighborhoods — Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the Harvard campus — which each have a really distinctive flavor and feeling,” Pounds said.

On the Greenway, there’s an augmented reality exhibit through which visitors can see the evolution of that corridor through a century, including when it fell beneath the shadow of the elevated Central Artery.

A century after he established Bauhuas, Gropius is being commemorated in his Lincoln home, now a museum run by Historic New England — and by Gropius House Cider, a special blend whose proceeds will help restore the original apple orchard that surrounded the house.

“There’s just so much here to see,” Pounds said. “Most people don’t know about it, but it’s around us all the time.”