The Boston Architectural College is pleased to announce that the College has received a 2013 Boston Preservation Alliance (BPA) Achievement Award for its 951 Boylston Street renovation project. Bestowed annually since 1988, the Preservation Achievement Awards honor outstanding achievements in historic preservation and compatible new construction in Boston. Celebrated for their positive impact on the city's built environment, winning projects are looked upon as models for future preservation work.
The former District 16 Police Station at 951 Boylston Street was designed in the Richardson Romanesque style in 1886 by Boston City Architect Arthur H. Vinal. The first combined police and fire station in Boston, it was originally designed to include prison holding cells, office space, and stables. In 1976, Graham Gund re-adapted the space with extensive renovations for the Institute for Contemporary Art, which inhabited the building through 2007. These renovations included covering structural details, removing virtually all of the interior details of the original police station, and redesigning the entire interior.
In 2012, The Boston Architectural College completed their rehabilitation of the building, which they adapted into a state-of-the-art educational facility for teaching, exhibition, and fostering community among the students, faculty, and public. Students in the historic preservation program were able to get hands-on experience renovating the building. Through their work, they uncovered brick walls, roof rafters in the top floor, and a terracotta oven mantle. The aspects of the building's interior that were able to be saved were completely restored, while the unsalvageable details were closely replicated. A new sign that features scalloped, separately-lit typography was approved by the Back Bay Historical Commission. Extensive updates to the exterior are modern without detracting from the building's history, allowing various stages of architectural design to coexist harmoniously. The building was also successfully linked with the BAC's existing building at 320 Newbury Street.
"Through several uses, District 16 has stood the test of time, ever adaptable but always a remarkable gem of a building of a distinctive character," said Greg Galer, executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. "Now beautifully restored by our colleagues at the BAC, District 16 is ready for future generations."
This year the BPA will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Preservation Achievement Awards on Monday, October 21 at Emerson's restored Paramount Center. The BAC's 951 Boylston Street project will be recognized along with the other 11 projects awarded in 2013: 131 Clarendon Street; 234 Berkeley Street; Boston Common Men's Convenience Station/Earl of Sandwich; Brighton Mile Marker (142 Harvard Avenue); Dorcas Window Restoration at Church of the Covenant (67 Newbury Street); Harvard Medical School Gordon Hall Window Restoration (25 Shattuck Street); Hayden Building (681 Washington Street); Hostelling International Boston (19 Stuart Street); Second Brazer Building (27 State Street); Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (300 1st Avenue, Charlestown); and St. Joseph-St. Lazarus Church (59 Ashley Street, East Boston). At the ceremony, the BPA will also present the Codman Award for Lifetime Achievement to Mayor Menino.