The Alliance doesn’t normally recognize projects with an Honorable Mention in our Awards program, but we wanted to highlight the impressive solutions the project team employed for this iconic Boston structure. The Edward A. Hatch Memorial Shell, known more often as the Hatch Shell, is an outdoor amphitheater on the Charles River Esplanade most famous for hosting summer concerts and the annual Boston Fourth of July celebration with the Boston Pops Orchestra. It is a landmark in Boston’s landscape. With its art deco glamour, the Hatch Shell was officially dedicated on July 2, 1940 by a crowd of 20,000.
After minor changes, upgrades, and repairs over the years, in 2015 Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype (BH+A) began work on this structure with a conditions assessment report, noting separation and spalling of the terrazzo finish that exposed the concrete substrate. This could have led to water damage in the interior of the structure. After analysis, the team determined that the rustic terrazzo finish could be obtained with a system that had an open drainage cavity, with the panels set on pedestals. An open cavity underneath would eliminate the freeze/thaw spalling problem. The process required utmost precision but after a successful installation the panel surfaces give a smooth, uniform appearance.
“Sometimes when preservation work is done successfully nobody knows you’ve done it, which means you’ve done it right. The types of creative solutions in this project are necessary to protect and preserve the places that mean the most to us,” says Alison Frazee, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “Next time you’re enjoying a summer concert at the Hatch Shell, or visiting any historic site, remember that there’s a team of dedicated stewards ensuring this place survives.”
MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype
Boston Landmarks Commission
Bruce T. Martin Photography