Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Q&A: Architect David Lee on Preservation, Interpretation and the Malcolm X-Ella Little-Collins House

HBI selected David Lee, partner at the Boston-based firm Stull and Lee, to assess the Malcolm X-Ella Little Collins House, and provide conceptual design for its re-use.  David discussed with HBI his work on this important landmark, the meaning of Malcolm X in his life, and what this restoration project represents for the community.

HBI:  You proactively offered to help with the Malcolm X House.  Why? 
DL:   I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, near the mosque which served as headquarters for the Nation of Islam.  Malcolm X is a mythic figure for me.  Like so many men of my generation, I was inspired by Malcolm X’s Autobiography, and his sense of manhood.   The opportunity to help restore a monument to such an important figure for the country as a whole was a no brainer for me.

Save The Date! Hayden Building Ribbon Cutting!

February 28th at 11:00 am HBI will be celebrating the completion of the
Hayden Building, H.H. Richardson's only surviving commercial building in Boston. We are excited to announce that Mayor Thomas Menino will be our special guest at the event. Please mark your calendars for this special celebration! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Connect Historic Boston initiative Links Boston’s Past with a Transportation Future

Advocates and stewards biked from Black Falcon
Terminal to Faneuil Hall in early November.
City of Boston transportation planner Addy Smith-Reiman introduces us to a new initiative of the Menino administration and the National Park Service.

Have you ever found yourself disorientated in downtown Boston?  Maybe a little lost when coming out of the wrong exit at a T stop?  Confused by the cacophony of wayfinding and directional signage?

It’s not only tourists who are often fumbled by the historic street network of alleys and one-ways, tripped up (no pun intended) by the differing textures of cobblestones and brick, or misled by a sign that points from this way to that.  Bostonians old and new have a hard go of it, too.
But is it really that difficult to get ‘theah from heah?’

It shouldn’t be and that’s what Connect Historic Boston is trying to solve.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

HBI Receives Award from Boston Fire Historical Society

Earlier this month, HBI was honored to receive a very special award from the Boston Fire Historical Society. HBI has been working with the Historical Society since beginning the preservation and renovation  of the Eustis Street Fire House several years ago. Through use of their extensive archives, and exceptionally knowledgeable members, they were able to gather information about the Fire House, and the engines that it housed. They also explained to us how and why the building was changed to accommodate the evolution of fire fighting technology. For example, the rear addition on the Fire House was built to house the horses that were then needed to pull the new horse drawn apparatus. Until that time, the engine that was kept in the Fire House were hand pulled, as illustrated in the metal fence leading up to the HBI offices at the Fire House.

For HBI's work to preserve a historic fire house, The Boston Fire Historical Society presented Executive Director, Kathy Kottaridis, Eustis Street Fire House Project Manager, Lisa Lewis and Board President, Matthew Kiefer with an award certificate as well as a photo taken by FF William Noonan, BFD, Department Photographer, of a Boston Fire Department Fire Fighter subduing a blaze in Roxbury.

The award certificate is a striking, hand drawn image dating from around the turn of the twentieth century. It depicts several vignettes which illustrate different fire fighting apparatus used at that time, a ladder track, a classic steam engine, a hose reel, a chemical engine, a fire boat, and a protective, or salvage company.

We are exceptionally thankful for this honor, and both of these items are proudly showcased on the walls of the Eustis Street Fire House.

Hayden Building Now Leasing

We are pleased to announce that the Hayden Building is now nearing completion. The four rental units are now being leased, and soon this historic structure will be a hip new home for some very lucky tenants. To learn more about becoming a tenant at the Hayden Building, check out the listing. Or, for more information on the building and its history, check out the website thehaydenbuilding.com. There you can see the newest renderings, learn about the history of the building, and find out what it would be like to like to live there.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Roslindale Substation Community Meeting

Friday, January 11, 2013

Protecting New York City's Urban Landmarks through Transferrable Development Rights

Our guest blogger this week is Kate Gilmore, HBI intern and student at Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Kate has done extensive research on air rights and how they play into the preservation of architecture. 

In 1968, the owners of Grand Central Station proposed to construct a fifty-five story tower in the space above the historic train station. Having recently lost Penn Station, the public was alarmed by the prospect of compromising the City’s remaining historic train station. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission found that the proposed tower’s massing would overwhelm the smaller landmark and called the proposal an “aesthetic joke.”  However, the owners of Grand Central were simply exercising their right as private property owners to develop their lot to the highest and best use, thus, maximizing their economic return.

Maximizing highest and best use entails fully developing a lot’s air rights, which are an invisible three-dimensional envelope of space that a building can occupy as dictated by Floor Area Ratio (FAR). A building not built to its maximum FAR has remaining undeveloped air rights, which are a valuable and limited commodity. Many of New York City’s individual landmarks, such as the iconic Grand Central Station, are built well below their maximum FAR and face intense development pressure. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Boston’s Conductor Behind the Ferdinand Building’s Renaissance

The new Dudley Municipal Complex is well underway, including restoration of the historic Ferdinand’s Furniture Store, built in 1895 and once the largest retail furniture store in New England.

While the project is a major development and public policy accomplishment of the Menino Administration, implementation of the project has required complex coordination of the many people involved in planning and construction.  Joseph I. Mulligan, Deputy Director of the City of Boston’s Property & Construction Management Department, talks with HBI's writer Linnea Walsh on the project, its players, and his role in “conducting” everyone involved in the process.