Leather factory in boston, massachusetts building renovation architects master architectural images 179 real estate design in lincoln
September 17, 2023
Architects: Atelier Cho Thompson
Location: 179 Lincoln, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Photos by Jared Kuzia
Leather Factory, Boston, Massachusetts
This project to reimagine the shared spaces of the office building at 179 Lincoln was shaped around the balance between old and new: we explored the rich history of the building and amplified it while creating spaces that respond to the needs of the post-pandemic workplace.
179 Lincoln is a case study in the sustainable and experimental benefits of adaptive reuse. Originally constructed as a shoe factory, the full-block building is distinguished by its ornate stone façade decorated with images depicting shoemaking, and its distinctive brick and terracotta structure.
Our work took a subtractive and additive approach to uncovering the history of the building. Older renovations have left the building’s public areas dark and generic, and decades of changes have led to layers of materials like vinyl and carpet. We removed those layers to reveal the original terrazzo floors, which were carefully restored.
We have brought the history and design of the building’s unique facade inside. The building’s exterior features distinctive arched geometry and rich detailing, making it a tranquil presence in the neighborhood in which it is located. With a modern sensibility, we developed an architectural language that brought external functional and decorative elements into the heart of the building and adapted them to the scale of the human body, creating a juxtaposition of materials and scales.
When adding new elements, we relied on historical elements that were part of the original construction, from the copper mail chute to the decorative plaster to the leather used in the shoes. Using a rich material palette of plaster, stone, oak and copper, we transformed the building’s common areas into welcoming, light-filled public spaces.
Envision the future
The project creates a multi-layered composition of narratives dating back to 1899, connecting Boston’s historic manufacturing to today’s office workplaces. This project responds to the changing landscape of office life by offering opportunities beyond what we can only experience working from home. With a hospitality approach, the project spaces provide a welcoming and inclusive place to spend time with colleagues.
The project sought to create spaces on the edges of the building, from an underutilized lobby to a dark core to empty pockets across five floors. Spaces now provide a visual and tactile environment that elevates and honors the spirit of the workplace; By connecting back to the history of this grand building, we experience historic Boston through the lens of a future-focused workplace.
Leather Factory, Boston – Property Information
Project size: 8000 square feet
Completion date: 2022
Leather Factory, Boston, Massachusetts Images / Information received 170923 from Atelier Cho Thompson Architects
Location: Boston, MA, USA
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