Thursday, March 23, 2023

AIA Connecticut


Elizabeth Mills Brown Awardees


The Elizabeth Mills Brown Award recognizes design excellence in the restoration, rehabilitation, adaptation, and reuse of historic structures.  The award is named after and honors the work of Betty Brown, a prominent Connecticut architectural historian, preservationist, and civic leader, and author of the extraordinarily comprehensive and meticulously researched New Haven: A Guide to Architecture and Urban Design (Yale University Press, 1976). This award is presented in conjunction with Preservation Connecticut .

2022 Elizabeth Mills Brown Jury

Alyssa Lozupone
Director of Preservation
Newport Restoration Foundation

Valerie Talmage
Executive Director
Preserve Rhode Island

Martha Werenfels, FAIA, LEED AP
Senior Principal
DBVW Architects

Hotel Marcel | Becker + Becker
Photography: Robert Gregson, Seamus
Payne, Bruce Redman Becker, & Zach Pontz

Marcel Breuer’s 1968 Armstrong Rubber Company Building marks the entry to New Haven, framing the skyline with its distinctive two-story void. Now, its stacked volumes are repurposed as a 165-room hotel and conference center, while pioneering preservation strategies that squarely address our urgent climate crisis.

Hotel Marcel harnesses inherent energy-efficient features of Breuer’s brutalist design. The sculptural exterior of the building remains unaltered (apart from the 2002 removal of a two-story wing). The deep-set windows provide summer passive cooling and winter solar gain. Its simple rectangular massing provides an efficient ratio of envelope to enclosed area, and existing large window apertures reduce daytime lighting.

The ground floor’s reception, lounge and restaurant connect through an uninterrupted 185 foot open expanse, underscoring the structural ingenuity of this building. Hotel Marcel sets a new standard in the hospitality industry and preservation world, with an all-electric, fossil-fuelfree, Passive House, LEED Platinum, net-zero energy transformation.

Jury comments: Lovely preservation of a Brutalist icon. Great attention to detail and good re-use program so that public (hotel guests) can access the building.

Legacy Theatre | Wyeth Architects LLC
Photography: Robert Benson Photography

In 1886, a non-denominational church was built in the Stony Creek village of Branford as a gathering place for the burgeoning summer community. It’s been a silent movie house, home to two theater groups (one featuring Orson Welles), a WWII parachute factory, a corset factory, and the Stony Creek Puppet House housing an important collection of Sicilian puppets. The non-profit Legacy Theatre purchased the property in 2013.

The original masonry building and wood-framed stagehouse addition have a 2,850 SF footprint. It is now a 127-seat theatre with dressing rooms and state-of-the-art technology. Every inch is optimized with spaces overlapping.

Great care was taken to protect the historic fabric. The stagehouse structure was preserved by building a secondary structure inside
to support it. Finishes were protected or repaired from damage due to neglect or prior renovations. Brick was repointed, mortar was matched. Windows were reconstructed or replaced with functioning, higher performance versions. As much of the front siding and framing was restored as was practicable. Reviving its character brings this building back to life.

Jury comments: Thoughtful preservation of a vernacular building. Nicely designed interiors and a great opportunity to enrich the community.

for Exterior Renovation and Activation of Space

Ball & Socket Arts - Building 2 | Maier Design Group, LLC
Photography: Francois Tellier, Keith Lauzier

Building 2 is the first of five buildings to be rehabilitated as part of a multiyear project to convert the former Ball & Socket Button Factory into a regional arts and entertainment center.

Rehabilitation of Building 2 began in August 2019 with a project to remove hazardous materials from the building. Delayed by funding challenges, local approval hurdles, and the pandemic, construction did not restart until January 2022. Supply chain issues during construction required redesign of the mechanical and electrical systems to keep the project schedule on track. Despite the obstacles Ball & Socket Arts’ first tenant, Sweet Claude’s Ice Cream Shop, welcomed their first customers on August 12, 2022.

The goal has always been to preserve as much of the original building fabric as possible while adapting the building for new tenants and uses. This mantra has been followed throughout the construction process to the greatest extent

Jury comments: A very positive reuse. Great preservation that gives back to the community on so many levels. 

Ferguson Library Restoration | Silver Petrucelli & Associates
Photography: Architectural Staff

The Ferguson Library was established in 1877 and moved to its present Stamford, CT location in 1909. The library building, designed by Egerton Swartwout, is a two-story Georgian Revival style brick building that is listed on the National Register as part of the Downtown Stamford Historic District. All restoration work on the façade of the library was conducted in compliance with the National Park Service Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation. Deteriorated features were replaced with the same detail, scale, proportion, material and color as the original. Use of composite, durable, and sustainable materials in the restoration were approved and used, where appropriate, such as the balustrade which were constructed with more durable materials.

Jury comments: A quintessential restoration project and a great effort for the facade of a public building that should be commended.

Montgomery Mill | Crosskey Architects, LLC
Photography: Scott Mazzie

Located between the Windsor Locks Canal and the Connecticut River, the Montgomery Company Industrial Complex consists of four buildings dating from 1891 - 1939. Referred to as Montgomery Mill Apartments, the project represents the successful adaptive reuse of a historic, long-vacant and blighted brownfield mill in downtown Windsor Locks. Planning the industrial buildings rehabilitation to multifamily housing required thoughtful coordination to meet code requirements, Connecticut Housing Finance Authority guidelines, state and federal historic tax credit financing regulations, and sustainability initiatives. The conversion of the 225,000 SF property to 160 industrial-chic units was completed on June 30, 2020. The Mill is adjacent to the Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail and within walking distance of mass transit and town amenities.

Jury comments: This was obviously a huge undertaking filled with complexity and risk. A great adaptive use of a blighted vacant and deteriorated building that activates an historic space, and can spin off into the neighborhood and the community.

Jury comments: Sweet, lovely building that has been carefully preserved. Replacement of the missing details gives the building so much character.

Pine Orchard Union Chapel | Joseph Sepot Architects
Photography: Dennis M. Carbo Photography

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 125-year-old Pine Orchard Union Chapel, designed by Brown & Berger of New Haven in the Queen Anne style in 1897, retained many of its distinctive features but was in significant disrepair. A three-year-long effort to preserve, protect, and stabilize the chapel in accordance
with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties was launched by the Pine Orchard Union Chapel Association in 2019. The all-wooden chapel is one of the few remaining 19th Century houses of worship built along the Connecticut shoreline for summer residents. It is a rectangular one-story balloon-framed structure measuring 54 x 34 feet. Upon completion in 2022, the chapel once more took pride of place in the Pine Orchard community where it continues to serve as a meeting place for services, weddings, and musical performances.

for Respect for Historic Fabric & Context

87 to 85 Trumbull Street Move | Petra Construction Corp. &
David Thompson Architects LLC

Photography: Wolfe House Movers; David Thompson Architects; & Petra Construction Corporation

An early-19th century two-story structure stood where Yale University planned to build a new economic center. Considered a New Haven landmark and a contributing property to the Hillhouse Avenue Historic District, the house was originally built in 1807 as a residence at 28 Hillhouse Avenue and carefully  deconstructed/rebuilt at 87 Trumbull Street in 1871. In an effort to preserve the historic building it was relocated approximately five hundred feet down the road to 85 Trumbull Street. Work was completed simultaneously at the existing and new sites, along with readying the travel route. Once secured in its final location, patching and repair work was consistent with the original design, including the siding where two brick additions were removed, to maintain the aesthetics of the historic neighborhood. A new roof was installed, and three of the four chimneys were rebuilt. Windows were repaired with specialty glass to match the existing. Additionally, the mechanical systems were reinstalled in the new basement and a bathroom was added to the first floor.

Jury comments: Institutions of higher learning need to grow and evolve, so it is great to see an example of making way for this in a way that successfully preserves a worthy piece of the historic urban fabric.

Past Elizabeth Mills Brown Award Recipients