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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

GREG GALER
Executive Director

AllianceViews Blog

Infrastructure improvements & vibrant greenspace at Longwood Medical

Brigham Patient Parking Garage and Thea & James M. Stoneman Centennial Park

October 23rd, 2015  |  Posted by: Boston Preservation Alliance

The following is part nine of a series of posts that provides a behind-the-scenes look into each of the ten projects that will be honored at the Boston Preservation Alliance’s 2015 Preservation Achievement Awards.

The completed Brigham and Women's Medical Center, Brigham Green. Photo courtesy of Anton Grassl.

The recently completed Brigham and Women’s Medical Center, Brigham Green. Photo courtesy of Anton Grassl.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital was founded forty years ago through a merger of three existing hospitals, the oldest of which was the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, established in 1913. As the hospital expanded, the open lawn space in front of the Peter Bent Brigham Building was paved over with asphalt to accommodate the increased need for parking. Large areas of pavement supported increased access for vehicles, at the cost of the pedestrian experience. As a result, the impressive, classical entry and its approach had been forgotten behind a sea of cars, lost for decades.

The Peter Bent Brigham Hospital as it originally stood. Photo courtesy of BWH.

The Peter Bent Brigham Hospital as it originally stood. Photo courtesy of BWH.

That area has been completely transformed, now boasting an expansive lawn on top of a parking garage with room for 400 cars and 95 bicycles. This project has ambitiously resolved parking problems, restored the façades of three historic buildings, and revitalized the open space to invite the public onto the hospital’s front yard. The grand historic façade of the Peter Bent Brigham Building has a presence once again.

What’s particularly striking about the project is that it simultaneously addressed infrastructure needs and delivered much-needed open space to hospital patients, staff and the surrounding neighborhoods. “There is a neighborhood with single-family houses across the street, so this has been a real win-win, because it’s a nice open space for the neighbors and for visitors to Brigham Circle, with an iconic front door for the hospital and more parking,” noted Cynthia Smith, a principal and designer for landscape architecture at Halvorson Design Partnership.

View of the Peter Bent Brigham Building, prior to the project's

View of the Peter Bent Brigham Building, prior to the project’s ground breaking in 2012. Photo courtesy of BWH.

The project team also tackled the challenge of creating an accessible entrance that was harmonious with the Peter Bent Brigham Building. “The building was 8-10 feet above the grade of the sidewalk,” Smith explained, “and it’s a very prominent building with classical columns. We really wanted to give it a base, but also to provide maximum accessibility.” The result is quite elegant – accessibility has been achieved, while maintaining an excellent view of the building and its façade.

Upon completion, the Brigham Patient Parking Garage and Thea and James M. Stoneman Centennial Park now boast inviting, vibrant green space that strengthens the relationship between the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the surrounding community.

For additional information about the Brigham Patient Parking Garage and Thea and James M. Stoneman Centennial Park, click here.
For additional information about the Preservation Achievement Awards, click here.

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One Response

  1. Tom says:

    What would really help the Longwood area as far as
    traffic and exhaust contribution would be the reduction
    or substitution of Partner 30 passenger buses and longwood
    medical area blue buses which are identical to mbta buses
    to small vans primarily to move patients.
    The MBTA already provides buses and trolleys to the
    longwood area. How much quicker can you go? obviously
    not far by going in a large bus with loads of empty seats
    in the middle of slow moving traffic!
    If you ever look inside while they pass by they are little
    used or occupied by passengers.

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