This adaptive reuse project transformed a turn of the century residential building that was formerly a former parish house into a dynamic, multi-use cultural venue with a restored exterior and a completely transformed interior. The building is located in the South End neighborhood of Boston, a historic district in which the work was required to meet stringent Landmarks District regulations.
The center provides space for visual arts, music and dance, literature and computer arts as well as administration. It functions in conjunction with an adjacent performance hall that was upgraded with a new HVAC system. The rehab involved major structural redesign to create open floor plates, handicapped access and extensive historic restoration of the exterior envelope.
A key feature of the design concept is a three-story, glass-encased main stair in the center of the building. It visually links all three levels, allowing multiple views in to the different activity spaces. A skylight at the top of the stairs brings daylight into all the spaces. The natural and artificial light falling on the glass and steel handrails, natural wood stair treads and stainless steel risers give this stair feature a sense of warmth and brilliance that permeates the entire Center.