The Hayden Building receives Boston Preservation Award

The Hayden Building

The Boston Preservation Alliance has recently recognized Marc Truant & Associates, Historic Boston, Inc. and CUBE design + research with a 2013 Preservation Awards for their work in helping to preserve Boston’s historic character. The project team inventively transformed The Hayden Building, the only remaining commercial property in Boston designed by H.H. Richardson, into a vital, mixed-use building while revealing and highlighting the architectural and social history of this landmark building.

The Hayden Building was designed as a five-story commercial building by famed architect Henry Hobson Richardson and built in 1875 by Norcross Brothers, general contractors.  Located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, this landmark embodies the vision of its present owner, Historic Boston Inc. (HBI).  HBI worked closely with CUBE design + research (architects) and Marc Truant & Associates (construction managers) to fully restore and transform the vacant structure into a mixed use building that is modern in its design while remaining true to Richardson’s aesthetics. The Hayden Building is now home to four contemporary apartments and a retail space on the first floor.

The Hayden Building was originally occupied by manufacturers and services such as dental parlors.  In the 1970s, the first of several adult entertainment businesses moved into the area and the building’s tenants included a peep-show house during Boston’s “Combat Zone” era.  After a fire in 1985, it was threatened several times with HBI purchased the building in 1993 saving it from demolition, stabilizing the structure which had been compromised by fire, and restoring its window openings and masonry exterior. Two decades later, HBI selected CUBE and Marc Truant & Associates (MTA) to advance the project to another level.

At the ribbon cutting on June 4 2013, Mayor Thomas M. Menino said, “After sitting empty for 30 years this building is now preserved and reactivated. Historic preservation does not inhibit economic development, it ignites it.”

To achieve CUBE’s design intent MTA carefully coordinated the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protections systems with stringent acoustical performance considerations and zero-tolerance architectural detailing including an extensive amount of cabinetry and woodwork. On the exterior of the building, historic masonry details were painstakingly preserved and new elements, such as the entrance to the residential units, were designed to complement the original architecture.

The Hayden Building achieved LEED® Platinum certification, exceeding the project team’s preliminary goal of LEED® Silver. Due to the building’s landmark status, the façade could not be altered in any way, and all of the existing windows were to be preserved; however, the building still had to pass strict air quality and environmental testing necessary to meet LEED® Platinum certification. A state-of-the-art mechanical system along with the installation of interior storm windows and detailed, air-barrier workmanship facilitated this accomplishment.

All photos © John Horner Photography
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WINSLOW HOMER STUDIO – AWARD WINNING PRESERVATION

The Winslow Homer Studio has been selected by the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts as a Build New England Award Winner.

The Winslow Homer Studio - A National Historic Landmark

From 1883 until his death in 1910 Winslow Homer spent his days in a studio overlooking the sea in Prouts Neck, Maine. Homer commissioned John Calvin Stephens, a friend as well as one of the most innovative and talented shingle-style architects of the period, to create a habitable home. Stephens re-sited the small building, formerly a carriage house, to an overlook about 150 yards from the open ocean and added a covered “piazza” at the second floor that commanded sweeping views of the rocky coastline and the sea beyond. While living and working in this carefully crafted home and studio during all seasons, Homer created such inspiring masterworks as “Early Morning After a Storm”, “Fox Hunt”, “The Gulf Stream”, and “Weatherbeaten”.

The Portland Museum of Art purchased the Winslow Homer Studio in 2006 after it had experienced decades of varying degrees of neglect. Mills Whitaker Architects was hired to provide design services while Marc Truant & Associates provided preconstruction and general contracting services.

Special care was taken with the historic fabric of the building, from the removal and replacement of each floorboard to the careful preservation of Winslow Homer’s “graffiti” and window etchings. Local craftsmen and vendors provided world-class preservation work, as well as custom-designed details and locally-sourced materials to recreate the Studio as it was when Homer stood at the window of his painting room, looking out at the sea. Modern electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and extensive security and communications systems had to be integrated into this iconic structure without distracting from its history. This was achieved by using a thin steel structure that mirrored the existing roof, creating an interstitial space to conceal the modern systems.

The Winslow Homer Studio restoration was completed with zero hours lost to injury and no accidents. This 100% safety record is a testament to the project team’s dedication to their common goal – restoring Winslow Homer’s presence to a National Historic Landmark and an icon for the art community, and giving visitors a chance to stand at the same window where Homer stood looking out at the power, beauty, and peril of the sea.

Marc Truant & Associates is a member of the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts and the Associated General Contractors of America.

all photographs ©trentbellphotography
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See the transformation: The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain

On a bitter, cold evening in January 2005, a fire broke out in the historic First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, and despite the heroic efforts of firefighters, the building was destroyed.  The next morning, all that remained were the outer walls and steeple of the church, along with charred timbers and pews and a pre-civil war organ that was irreparably damaged. What did remain was the spirit of The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain’s congregation, who were determined to see their home restored.

For years after the fire, the church members met in temporary spaces while raising the funds required to rebuild – first in a tent on the church lot, then at a neighboring institution, and eventually in a double wide trailer in front of the church.  The church is located on Centre Street in the center of one of Boston’s most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods.  The goal of the congregation was not only to rebuild the church building, but to reestablish its important role in serving the surrounding community.

In 2007, Marc Truant & Associates began providing preconstruction services for First Baptist.  In 2008, after careful planning and extensive fundraising, construction began. Phase I, which was completed earlier this year, included foundation work, the rebuilding of the exterior walls, the steel structure of the building, and new finishes and systems. The ground floor level houses the church offices, rooms for Sunday school and community programs, a worship space and a large community kitchen. The soaring upper level space will become the church’s sanctuary when Phase II is completed; Marc Truant and Associates has begun work with the congregation on preconstruction planning for this next phase of the project.

The exterior was completely restored

First floor "flex space" is currently being used by a local school

New kitchen on the first floor


The sanctuary's structure was rebuilt. It will be finished during Phase II of the project, which is currently in preconstruction

It has been an honor for our company to work with The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain.  The church’s commitment to their mission and their embrace of the collaborative process have been inspiring to everyone involved in the project.

Marc Truant & Associates, Inc. (MTA) has worked on other restoration projects of historical properties and brought that past experience and expertise to bear on this project. There was particular effort in pre-construction planning and cost estimating, budget revision(s), scheduling and working within our budget restrictions. All of which was successfully accomplished. It is said in business…that the leader is only as good as the folks that surround him/her. This is exemplified at MTA. Each person with whom we had contact throughout this project is witness to that philosophy; they were intelligent, talented, committed, concerned, thoughtful, fiscally responsible and professional. MTA truly partnered with FBCJP in our rebuilding.

- Rev. Ashlee Wiest-Laird, pastor, and Nancy L. Sweeney, building committee chair


Architect: The Office of Michael Rosenfeld, Inc.
Photos: Ashlee Wiest-Laird (before) & Anton Grassl/Esto (after)
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Project Update: Mary Baker Eddy Historic House Museum

Here is one of the reasons we’ve been too busy to post lately–

Some before photos of the Mary Baker Eddy House:

Our team of skilled Project Managers, Superintendents, and Subcontractors completed exterior repairs, basement renovations, and accessibility improvements at Mary Baker Eddy’s historic home in Lynn, Massachusetts.

The exterior improvements included removal and replacement of damaged clapboards, fascia and soffit; refinishing of the original window sashes; demolition and rebuilding of the side porch; and excavation and construction of the Vestibule addition.

Also, the Longyear Museum hired an historic paint consultant to research the original color scheme of the building, and these colors were used to generate the color scheme for the exterior and interior. It’s all about the details!

The basement was completely gutted, the existing slab removed, and new drainage and slabs placed. New structural columns to accommodate the location of the new partition walls were installed, and the old columns removed. New walls were added to create two handicap-accessible bathrooms, a coat room, mechanical space and storage area. Ceramic tile was placed on the floors and on the wet wall separating the bathrooms. The existing stone foundation was re-pointed and the brick was white-washed.

The new Vestibule is comprised of three levels – Basement, Ground Level, and First Floor Entry. This structure was designed to house the new lift which can bring people to the basement and the first floor of the house. The structure is comprised of cast-in-place concrete slab and foundation walls, storefront system, metal trim and roof membrane. The interior is finished with slate tile and oak millwork.

…and the after photos:

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Build Boston 2010

Truant is a major sponsor at Build Boston 2010, taking place Nov. 17 – 19 at the Seaport World Trade Center. If you were at the Build Boston Bash on Wednesday night, you might have noticed a large truant logo on the wall. That was a surprise to us–thanks Build Boston!

If you are able to make it down to the WTC on Friday, check out the trade show floor or register for one of Build Boston’s workshops. It’s a great event that we hope you won’t miss!

And if you can’t make it by Friday…there’s always 2011!

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Current & Upcoming Projects at Truant

Several interesting projects are on the Truant calendar right now. Some are getting finishing touches, others are right in the middle of an exciting construction schedule, and others are just getting started. Here’s the shortlist:

5-6 Lathrop Place:

Truant’s exterior restoration and stabilization of 5-6 Lathrop Place is the first phase of an effort by the Paul Revere Memorial Association to create an education and visitor center that will also provide full accessibility for the adjacent Paul Revere House Museum in Boston’s North End. This renovation will not only convert a neighborhood eyesore into a community asset, but will also benefit the many families, schools, and history buffs who visit this important historic site.

Bigelow Chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery:

This historic Gothic-Revival style chapel on the Mount Auburn Cemetery grounds in Watertown needed a mechanical systems overhaul. Our Truant crew is nearing completion on the heating system—active heat should be running by the first of November—and all millwork and finishes will wrap up by Thanksgiving. It is always a challenge to route new mechanical equipment within existing historical structure and finishes, but one which we have a lot of successful experience in!

Mary Baker Eddy Historic House Museum:

The Mary Baker Eddy House Museum in Lynn is being restored in two phases. The current phase includes exterior restoration, MEP upgrades, new visitor amenities in the basement, and the addition of a fully accessible vestibule that will provide access to the first floor and newly renovated basement.

You can see a video of the initial exterior restoration activities here.

Winslow Homer Studio:

This is absolutely one of our most exciting projects to-date. The project consists of a complete restoration of Winslow Homer’s historic Scarborough, Maine studio, including a new roof, framing, underpinning, doors & windows, plaster, finishes, and a new addition that will bring the building back to its historically accurate floor plan as of Winslow Homer’s death in 1910.

The Winslow Homer studio has a rich history, and we are honored to be a part of preserving that. Our team has completed the pre-construction phase, and we are now preparing for construction to begin.

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Truant receives a fourth award for the Park Street Church project

On October 21, the Park Street Church was awarded a Boston Preservation Achievement Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance.

Truant has received many awards for our contributions to historic restoration, environmental awareness, and focus on accessible design—but this award is really exciting because it is a record fourth for the Park Street Church project.

In May 2007, Truant began the pre-construction phase for restoration, renovation, and accessibility improvements at the historic Park Street Church next to Boston Common. After two phases of construction were completed, the PSC community had a beautifully restored, structurally sound, and welcoming home just in time for their Christmas Eve service in 2009.

Truant is honored most by the feedback we’ve received from members of the church congregation, but the awards are also very gratifying. Thanks to Park Street Church and Mills Whitaker Architects for their important roles in bringing Park Street Church into full accessibility while preserving the historic beauty that makes this building a Boston landmark.

2010 Boston Preservation Achievement Award, Boston Preservation Alliance

2010 Preservation Award, Massachusetts Historical Commission

2009 Build New England Award, Associated General Contractors

2009 William D. Smith Award, Accessible Design and Historic Preservation

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Marc Truant & Associates’ leadership role in sustainable building practices results in another LEED certification for a Truant project

For the second time within a year, one of the company’s building projects was awarded LEED certification. The LEED®-CI certification was awarded to the 6,400 square foot office headquarters of Gravestar, Inc. by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED-CI certification acknowledges commercial interior building. Last year, another Truant project received the First LEED Silver certification for a home in metropolitan Boston.

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Marc Truant & Associates, Inc. is proud to support “On Equal Terms”, an exhibit on women in construction.

The exhibit at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, recreates the experience of the first women who crossed onto construction sites in 1978, as part of a major federal effort promoting jobs and apprenticeship training for women.

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