SPALDING TOUGIAS ARCHITECTS, INC.
12 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210
Total Square Feet:
Dec 2003 to Oct 2005
ASSOCIATED ARCHITECT: Finegold Alexander + Associates, Inc. - 77 North Washington Street, 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02114
THEATER ARCHITECT: Wilson Butler, Inc. - 195 State Street, Boston, MA 02109
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Hawksworth, Bibb Inc. - 175 Washington Street, Winchester, MA 01890
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: CWC Builders, Inc. - 7 Wells Avenue, Newton, MA 02459
The Midway Studios project, located in the heart of Boston's Fort Point Channel, is part of the renaissance of Boston's historic Fort Point Channel district, consisting of warehouses and mill structures. It is also part of the larger Channel Center development adjacent to the new Boston Convention Center.
The project contains artist's live/work studios, office space, gallery, café, and 200 seat theater. The project will receive historic tax credits and is designed to provide affordable artist's housing within the existing Fort Point cultural district. It is approximately 203,280 square feet with 89 units. A unique aspect of the building is the new theater that utilizes the main level and the existing basement of the building for the ground level of the theater. This space exposes granite block walls, wooden beams, and brick walls to evoke its former use as a mill and warehouse building.
The team's approach to adapting these buildings to new uses was to preserve their historic character as much as possible while adding contemporary elements with a light hand. Former stair and elevator shafts of masonry construction remain, and with new floor infill have become usable floor area on each floor. The palette of materials used throughout maintains and updates the rugged aesthetic of the original buildings. Granite blocks and heavy timber removed to provide clear floor area for the black box theater are being incorporated into the grand staircase along with contemporary railing materials of perforated metal and wire mesh.
One notable complexity of the program involved creating a new structural system over the theater spaces. In order to achieve this, new steel trusses were designed above the floor and incorporated into the studios above the theater. The design of these large trusses reinforces the muscular quality of the exposed structure throughout the building.
The overall design of the building creates a link between the developing residential community and the new convention center with a mid block pedestrian passageway. This passage also serves as the main entrance to the café/gallery, studios and new theater lobbies. To identify these buildings to the larger community as an important center of working artists, an art installation is being employed on the former fire escape on the east side of the buildings facing the new convention center. The art installation and main entrance are linked via the public passageway, itself highlighted with color and light mounted within the existing structure.
The balance of the exterior features new aluminum windows to match the original configuration and retains the major openings at the ground level - former loading doors - for large display windows for retail, the gallery and the café. Entry features such as the granite base, stairs, and original door trim have been cleaned and restored.
DIV 08: Aluminum Storefront: Kawneer; Windows: E. R. Lewin, Inc.; Hollow Metal Doors: de la Fontaine Industries; Wood Doors: Mohawk; Locks: PDQ Industries; Panic Exit Devices: Yale.
DIV 09: VCT: Armstrong; Paint: Sherwin Williams.