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Boston Insurance Exchange Building - 40 Broad Street, Boston MA [Oct. 19th, 2006|04:39 pm]
New England Structures and Buildings

In 2000, in accordance with the new City of Boston Building Code 9-9.12 "Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances of Buildings", NER Construction, was awarded the project to replace the entire existing cast stone cornice with fiberglass sections that exactly match the original profile to eliminate any potential public safety problems. This included replacing portions of the steel structure supporting the cornice, new flashing and roof terminations, and engineering of the new support system for the fiberglass sections. The owner also opted to perform complete exterior stone restoration and cleaning to optimize the use of the scaffolding while it was in place. The result is a new jewel at the edge of the financial district.

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Boston Insurance Exchange Building - 40 Broad Street, Boston MA [Oct. 19th, 2006|02:23 pm]
New England Structures and Buildings

Boston Insurance Exchange Building was built by the firm Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott. Charles Allerton Coolidge and Henry Richardson Shepley designed it in 1924.

Renowned American architect Henry Hobson Richardson, founded the firm in 1874 in the Town of Brookline, Massachusetts upon winning a competition to design Boston's Trinity Church. Located in Copley Square opposite the Boston Public Library, Trinity was completed in 1877 and is considered one of Boston's premier architectural landmarks. Since then, the firm’s offices have always been located in buildings they have designed. In 1982, the firm moved from Richardson’s Ames Building — its home since 1889 — to its present location in Boston’s Insurance Exchange Building, built by Coolidge and Shattuck in 1924. The firm was successful throughout the 1980s, designing major projects for established clients such as Rhode Island and Danbury Hospitals, Maine Medical Center, Harvard University, University of New Hampshire, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and many others, while forming relationships with important new clients.

In 2006, Transwestern Broad Street LLC, an affiliate of Transwestern Investment Co., purchased the Insurance Exchange Building in Boston for $50 million, or approximately $172 per square foot. The seller was US Property Fund GMBH.

The 11-story, 291,000 square foot Class A office building was nearing 35% occupied in 2006, which made it a prime candidate for redevelopment. While interest was high among hotel and residential developers, it was Transwestern Investment Company, L.L.C. that acquired the building with plans to keep it as an office building and showcase a large block of contiguous space at a non-tower price point. 40 Broad Street, which occupies an entire city block a block from the Rose Kennedy Greenway, represents Transwestern’s entry into the downtown Boston market after having purchased Brickstone Square in Andover, MA late 2005.

40 Broad Street is located in the heart of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s Crossroads Initiative, which will create connections between the soon-to-be-completed Greenway, surrounding neighborhoods and the Boston Harbor. It consists of 11 floors plus a two level penthouse. Originally known as the Boston Insurance Exchange Building, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

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International Trust Company Building - 45 Milk St, Boston MA [Oct. 19th, 2006|10:22 am]
New England Structures and Buildings


The International Trust Company Building was the original home office of the renowned Old Colony Trust Company division of the Bank of Boston, reflecting both the growth of banking and finance in the late 19th century Boston, as well as the growth of the downtown financial district. The company was founded in 1879 and grew to become one of the largest trust companies in New England in the early 20th century. In 1979, the building was named to the National Register of Historic Places (Building - #79000369). It is also named as one of seven "JewelBox" buildings in Boston.

The International Trust Company Building is classically structured in the Beaux Arts Architectural Style designed by William Gibbons Preston. He studied under his father and at Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris. He was a member of the Boston Art Club and exhibited there during the years 1875 to 1898. Preston illustrated the Pemigewasset Perambulators, a humorous book to commemorate a visit made to the White Mountains in July 1866, describing the adventures of a group of his friends. He also designed the first American house to be called a bungalow in 1879 at Monument Beach on the Cape Cod. In 1867, he and Clemens Herschelís designed the suspension bridge in the Garden that is the smallest of its kind in the world.

The building has an obvious base, middle and top sections unlike the sky scraper pictured behind it. The third, seventh and eight floors are horizontally defined by a series of arched windows. This helps define the building's visual center, floors four through six, which are framed by engaged columns into vertical thirds. Within this frame each side has a three-floor inset bay window which defines vertical strips up center. Architectural carvings by Max Bachman (New York) enliven the facade, they include figures of commerce, fidelity, industry and security. They help establish the structure's base and ornamented entry way to 45 Milk St.

Source material is from Bedford Stone Quarries Company; Bedford, Indiana. The stone is from a region known as the Oolitic District of Indiana. Oolitic Limestone has strata that is homogeneous, equally strong in vertical, diagonal or horizontal sections. The stone came from the quarry soft but on exposure it hardens to a strength of from 10,000 to 12,000 pounds to the square inch. Orginally, it has a creamy brown appearance that will gradually whitening with age. It is of almost unprecedented purity, containing an average of 96.8 per cent of carbonate of lime, hence its advantage over the magnesian limestones, as it is not affected by decay in an atmosphere charged with the gases of burning stone coal. It can also be found in the following buildings in Boston; Algonquin Club, Beaconsfield Terrace, Jordan Building, and the orginal Shreve, Crump & Low Building, and the Pope Mfg. Co. Building. It can also be found in the orginal Ayre Public Library in Ayre, MA.

Sources: http://www.iboston.org/mcp.php?pid=45Milk, http://www.appletonpartners.com/Utility/FileDownload.aspx?id=100010
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Chestnut Hill Reservoir Waterworks [Oct. 16th, 2006|01:43 pm]
New England Structures and Buildings


Chestnut Hill Waterworks are 19th century pumping stations and an accompanying carriage house, that were designed in an era when building great public works also meant producing great public structures and spaces. As part of a progressive urban planning ethos of the era, the area included the city's first large pastoral park, a carriage road and greenway around the reservoir. And the landscape was designed by the sons of famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who were notable designers in their own right.1

The buildings include the Romanesque High Service Station, also known as Metropolitan Waterworks, was designed by Arthur Vinal and completed in 1888. It included a complement of gigantic steam engines that pumped water to those expanding areas of Boston that were at higher elevations. That rich Romanesque revival style popularized by Henry Hobson Richardson. The rich stone building will now host museum space for the historic engines, a cafe, and several residential units that will be up to 5,000 square feet. (Note Vinal was born in Quincy in 1854, Vinal was initially employed by Peabody & Steams, one of Boston's leading late 19th century architectural firms. Arthur H. Vinal died in West Harpswell, Maine, August 25, 1923.)1

The Beaux Arts Low Service Station was designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, the architects of Boston's South Station, and it performed a similar pumping function for those city neighborhoods at lower elevations. It is finished in white Indiana limestone. 1

The stone carriage house, meanwhile, features a continuous ribbon of transom windows just under the roofline.1

After decades of use, though, the buildings were taken out of regular service in the 1970s and fell into disuse. The pump houses and their contents were designated in 1998 as one of the state's 10 most endangered historic resources by the non profit Preservation Massachusetts.1

The Waterworks buildings have been renovated. In the hands of developer Merrill H. Diamond and the firm of Cambridge architect Graham Gund, the Waterworks buildings have been converted into stylish -- and expensive -- condominiums, some with killer views, and a museum that preserves the facilities' industrial heritage, including displays of some of the mighty pump engines that moved water from the adjacent reservoir.1

Diamond's redevelopment work, said Eva Webster, president of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir Coalition and an activist who has been involved in the preservation of the Waterworks since the 1980s, "is re-creating public and private spaces that are really striking and work beautifully with the reservoir."1

Diamond has a deep background in historic preservation and conversion of historic properties; he redeveloped the former 1851 Norfolk County Jail, a sturdy granite block of a structure that once housed anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti.1

Diamond's firm, Diamond/Sinacori Real Estate Development, and development partner Edward Fish of EA Fish Associates were selected by a state agency three years ago to redevelop the properties based on what he believes was the imaginative package of community benefits the team proposed. "We plan to restore the surrounding neighborhood to reflect the original pastoral vision of the Olmsted brothers," he said.1

Diamond's company is chipping in $1.1 million for improvements along Beacon Street, including removing the rusted iron fence along the edge of the reservoir and new Victorian-style street lighting. The decorative fountain in front of the site is working for the first time in decades.1

Diamond is even lobbying state officials to allow nonmotorized boating on the reservoir -- which functions nowadays only as an emergency water supply rather than an active reservoir.1

The project includes 112 condos over four buildings, including a new structure designed by DiMella Shaffer Associates, in a style that Diamond said is reminiscent of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Diamond said the state agency that solicited the redevelopment proposals "was very specific about new construction not being purely derivative but rather complementary to the existing structures."1

All content from:
1 http://www.boston.com/realestate/news/articles/2006/10/15/waterworks_revival?mode=PF

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Custom House Tower /McKinley Square [Oct. 5th, 2006|06:58 pm]
New England Structures and Buildings

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The Custom House Tower is a turn of the century skyscraper in the Financial District neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts.

The original Custom House was commissioned in 1837 and completed in 1849, It cost about $1,076,000, including the site, foundations, etc. (1840 dollars) It was designed in a neoclassical greek revival style by architect Ammi Burnham Young. This building was a cruciform (cross shaped) Greek Revival structure that combined a Greek Doric portico with a Roman dome design resembled a four-faced Greek temple, topped with a dome. It had 36 fluted Doric columns, of Quincy granite, weighing some 42 tons; each cost about $5200. Only half these are engaged in supporting the structure, the others are free standing. Each column was carved from a single piece from Quincy granite. They measured 5 foot 4 inches in diameter and stand 32 feet high. Its interior rotunda was capped with a skylight dome. It's The entire structure sits on filled land and is supported by 3,000 wooden piles driven through fill to bedrock.

Before land reclamation was done in the mid-1800s, Boston's waterfront had extended to this building. The Custom House was built at the end of the City docks, to facilitate inspection and registration of cargo. The building was used by the federal government to collect maritime duties in the age of Boston clipper ships. The wealth of Boston's seaport flowed through its lavish lobby in the form of tariff payments borne in the pockets of sea captains, who ascended its mighty steps to the marble piano nobile, open like a doughnut to the service level below.

The following is quoted from the 1850 Boston Almanac, with a historic description of the original Custom House building:

"Situated at the head of the dock between Long and Central Wharves, fronts east on the dock, west on India Street, and is in the form of a Greek Cross, [with] the opposite sides and ends being alike. It is 140 feet long north and south, 75 feet wide at the ends, and 95 feet through the centre. It is built on about 3,000 piles, fully secured against decay; the construction throughout is fire proof and of the very best kind.

The exterior of the building is purely Grecian Doric, not a copy, but adapted to the exigencies and peculiarities of the structure, and consists of a portico [overhang] of 6 columns on each side, on a high flight of steps, and an order of engaged columns around the walls, 20 in number, on a high stybolate or basement; the order of engaged columns terminating with 4 andae [pilasters] at their intersection with the porticos. The columns are 5 feet 4 inches in diameter and 32 feet high, the shaft being in one place, each weighing about 42 tons.

The cellar, which is 10 feet 6 inches high to the crown of the arches, is principally used for the storage of goods, which are conveyed to it through the basement story. The steam apparatus for warming the whole building (which it does effectively) is situated in the cellar, having easy access to the coal vaults under the sidewalk outside of the building.

The principal entrances to the basement story are at each end. They are for the receipt of goods for storage. Near the northwest corner, on the west side, is the entrance to the Night Inspectors' apartments, also to the private staircase leading to the Collector's room and the attic. South of the west portico is the entrance to the heating apparatus room, and on the south end is the entrance to the Custom House Truckmen's room. This story consists of rooms for the Night Inspectors, Custom House Truckmen, and Engineer of the Heating Apparatus, also three sets of Water Closets: the remainder is used for storage of goods, weigher's tabs, etc.

The principal ingress to the entrance story is through the porticos, but it can be entered from the Collector's private staircase, and from two other private staircases in the basement. This story contains apartments and offices for the Assistant Treasurer, the Weighers and Guagers, the Measurers, Inspectors, Markers, Superintendent of Building, etc. In the centre is a large vestibule, from which two broad flights of steps lead to the principal story, landing in two smaller vestibules therein, lighted by skylights in the roof, and these vestibules communicate with all the apartments in this story. The several rooms are for the Collector, Assistant Collector, Naval Officer, Surveyor, Public Store Keeper, their Deputies and Clerks; and for the facilities of doing business this arrangement is not surpassed. The grand-cross shaped Rotunda, for the general business of the Collector's department, in the centre of this story, is finished in the Grecian Corinthian order; it is 63 feet in its greatest length, 59 feed wide, and 62 feet in the skylight.

In one of the panels of the Rotunda is inserted a tablet of marble (Dedication Tablet 1847), containing the following inscription: Boston Custom House Building. Authorized by the 23d Congress, A.D. 1835. Andrew Jackson, President U.S.A.; Levi Woodbury, Sec'y of the Treasury.—Opened August 1st, A.D. 1847, James K. Polk, President U.S.A.; Robert J. Walker Sec'y of the Treasury; Marcus Morton, Collector of the Port; Samuel S. Lewis, Robert G. Shaw, Commissioners; Ammi Burnham Young, Architect."


The tower was built as an addition to this existing base between 1913 and 1915 by the architecture firm of Peabody and Stearns. Although Boston at that time had a 125-foot height restriction, the Custom House was federally-owned and not subject to these restrictions. It was the tallest building the 1964 construction of the Prudential Tower. The clock on the upper tower of the building measures 22 feet in diameter.

Boston's signature landmark, The Custom House Tower, stood unoccupied and inaccessible for 14 years. Working with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, The Landmarks Commission and Massachusetts Historical Society, The Beal Companies and Jung/Brannen Associates, Inc. were instrumental in keeping the project alive throughout this period, proposing concepts ranging from museums to offices to residential developments. In 1995, The Beal Companies and Marriott Ownership Resorts International announced plans to develop it into a time-share resort, with Jung/Brannen retained as Architect. It is a now a timeshare owned by Marriott Vacations. The building has luxurious rooms, harbor and city views, a full-service concierge, and an open observation deck on the 25th floor.

One of the greatest challenges facing the design team was the limited square footage of usable space on each of the tower floors, and one of the primary reasons that redevelopment into modern use had posed such a problem. In order to transform the Custom House into a financially viable real estate asset for Marriott, the team had to maximize the size and number of suites that could be located in the building. Working around the tower's structural constraints, the project team devised ways to fit four to five suites with custom-designed built-in cabinetry and furnishings, on each floor. This resulted in the creation of 87 one-bedroom suites with 26 different floorplan designs. A private owner's lounge, an exercise area and a game room are a few of the other amenities designed into the project. Also designed into the project was significant public access: a new ground floor and rotunda-level maritime museum and exhibit space, and guided tours of the refurbished observation deck on the tower's 26th floor. However, the fear of terrorist attack bar access to the landmark Custom House tower whose once-public balcony offered a splendid view of the city's wraparound world of water.

Pressley Associates, Inc. is the landscape architecture that redesigned the front plaza in 1999 "It provides a new urban linkage space that provides a sense of cohesion between Custom House Tower, Faneuil Hall and Marketplace Center." "As part of the current rehabilitation of the Tower to hotel use, the mandate of the landscape architectural design was to unify and revitalize the urban environment while respecting the buildings' historical importance. A one acre plaza has been designed to encourage pedestrian access and use, and to relate contextually to the adjacent Faneuil Hall Markets and Marketplace Center through the extensive use of large caliper shade trees, brick and granite pavements, and high quality site furnishings. The scope of work provided includes site design, construction documents, approvals process, presentations, resident engineering and construction support services. "

3 McKinley Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02109

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