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This blog is a place for dialogue on issues and actions relating to Boston's unique built environment and the preservation and continuing evolution of historic resources within it. My goal, as the Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, is to post timely, relevant and thought-provoking intelligence, ideas, and insights that will engage conversations, inform our actions, and broaden perspectives on preservation.

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Greg Galer, Executive Director, Boston Preservation Alliance

Executive Director

AllianceViews Blog

A look back at some stellar preservation projects

June 3rd, 2015  |  Posted by: Greg Galer

Next week we’ll announce the winners of our 2015 Preservation Achievement Awards – an annual program in which we honor achievements in historic preservation and compatible new construction in Boston. We’re looking forward to announcing this year’s outstanding projects and honorees, but in the meantime, we wanted to share some highlights from last year’s group of award-winning projects.

Walgreens – Downtown Crossing


We loved the way that this project demonstrated a unique juxtaposition of midcentury modernism and classical revival buildings – not to mention the fact that Walgreens’ occupancy has contributed to the revitalization of Downtown Crossing. It highlights the fact that preservation is about classically-designed buildings as well as more-modern architectural gems. Walgreens undertook restoration of both the original 1925 bank building and 1972 addition embracing the features of the modern, innovative design.

The architects of HPA Design, working with Shawmut Design and Construction, guided the restoration of the stone surfaces, ornamental brasses, hanging light fixtures, decorative plasterwork, and marble tile floors of the interior. To reinforce the building’s original identity as the Five Cents Savings Bank, they restored the front revolving doors and the bank vault that now exhibits artifacts and information about the history of the site.

 Liberty Mutual Boston Headquarters – Bay Village


The new Liberty Mutual building proves that not all of Boston’s best buildings are old. Rather, CBT Architects designed the twenty-two story structure to facilitate the needs of a modern office building, while incorporating design elements and public spaces that are especially compatible with the neighborhood. The Liberty Mutual building was constructed at the juncture of three different historic districts, so we were impressed with the sensitive design that respected the unique qualities of each.

The building’s distinctive triangular massing and curved edges are a direct response to the area’s diagonal street grid, while the Indiana limestone façades are a welcome site in an era dominated by man-made materials. With its attention to detail and thoughtful design, Liberty Mutual’s new building sets a high standard for sensitive, appropriate development in Boston’s irreplaceable historic neighborhoods.

 Fort Hill Tower – Roxbury

Fort Hill Tower_After

Originally designed in 1869, the Gothic Revival-style Fort Hill Tower stored water from Lake Cochituate in Natick for local residents. The tower was soon rendered obsolete, when Roxbury was annexed by Boston and the structure and grounds fell into disrepair.

In 2013, an extensive restoration effort was undertaken by the City of Boston. Historically appropriate methods and materials were extensively employed by Russo Barr Associates and Building Conservation Associates. This work included the removal of paint and the restoration of period-appropriate mineral coatings, replacement of window glazing, and repairs to the cast iron staircase, metal roof, and arched wood windows. Now, the restored tower once again stands proudly as a beacon above Roxbury.

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One Response

  1. These three choices are such a nice balance for one another — medium new, new and old. And three different uses. I’ve been avoiding Walgreen’s just because it is Walgreen’s and I was disappointed the bookstore left. But I’ll give it another look.

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