How do you take an old historic building, add a major addition to it, turn the whole thing into a highly energy efficient and sustainable structure, all while maintaining a strong historic preservation component? Let’s just say it takes teamwork and time.
In the latest edition of The Alliance Review, a quarterly journal of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, Lowell’s Historic Board Administrator Stephen Stowell directly addresses this question in “Preservation LEEDS to Sustainability in Lowell.”
This article provides a fascinating look into the many challenges faced by UTEC, the City of Lowell, and other key stakeholders to transform Lowell’s 1839 St. Paul’s Church, located at 35 Warren Street, into the dynamic and beautiful UTEC headquarters of today. One critical challenge was how to meld a major addition (of some 8,000 square feet) with the original building. Stowell summarizes the solution as follows:
In the end, the design approach taken was to strike a balance between the old and the new, ensuring that the addition’s design would not be interpreted as an historic building. This was achieved by making sure the height and mass of the new construction didn’t overwhelm the church while construction materials were chosen that would complement the church’s original brickwork. The end result was an addition that was clearly contemporary but also complementary of the historic church and easily discernible from it.
Here at UTEC we are very proud of our building and we love to show it off to the many visitors who pass through our doors. More significantly, however, is the impact this space has on our young adults who work, learn, and play here. As one of our young people said once when first entering the new space, “Oh man, I feel like I’ve won the lottery!”
If you happened to have visited UTEC last Friday (Sept. 22nd) during Preservation Massachusetts‘ 2017 Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference, we thank you and hope you enjoyed your visit.
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Source: Lowell Sun