Chestnut Hill, MA
A 19th century water system campus is transformed into a residential neighborhood.
The Chestnut Hill Waterworks is recognized as the finest and most intact 19th century water system in the country, noted for its architecture, engineering, landscape design and urban planning. In the 1970s the buildings were taken out of regular service and fell into disuse. The pump stations and their contents were designated in 1998 as one of the state’s 10 most endangered historic resources by the non-profit, Preservation Massachusetts.
The Museum Residences
GUND developed an adaptive reuse plan to convert the two landmark public works buildings and an adjacent carriage house into multi-family housing. The c. 1887 High Service Pump Station is a Richardsonian Romanesque building designed by Arthur Vinal, and with a later 1898 addition by Wheelwright & Haven. The 37,000 SF building was converted into four unique condominiums and a public museum showcasing the landmark water pumps. The Waterworks Museum celebrates the history of the site and water system, builds public health and environmental awareness and has become a popular event venue.
The c. 1899 Low Service Pump Station is a Beaux Arts Classical building originally designed by Shelpley, Ruten & Coolidge. Twenty unique condominiums were designed within its 53,000 SF interior. Units include 16 flats and four townhouse units. Minimal windows on the northeast wing of the building did not support building code requirements for residences. Because the historic facade could not be altered, a new structure was placed within this wing, creating an interior courtyard and allowing for light-filled spaces in the new units.
The former Operations building sits between the two pump stations and originally functioned as a carriage house. This 10,000 SF building was converted into seven unique residences—five flats and two townhouses. The size of this one-story structure was doubled with the addition of a second floor. A band of clearstory windows adds a light counterpoint to the heavy masonry of the base and offers unobstructed views to the reservoir and park.
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