Connecticut has a remarkable built heritage that stretches back nearly 400 years and encompasses places from the Colonial to the Modern eras and everything in between. This body of work gives the state a deep connection to its past, a distinctive identity in the present, and a richly layered foundation on which to build for its future. Jointly presented by AIA Connecticut and Preservation Connecticut, the Elizabeth Mills Brown award recognizes projects that are noteworthy both as respectful preservation of historic places and as excellent architectural designs. The award is named for the architectural historian and preservationist Elizabeth Mills Brown, who as writer and activist awakened Connecticut residents to the state’s architectural riches and the need to protect them.
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Paul Steinke, Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia
Ian Smith, AIA, R.A., NCARB, LEED-AP, Firm Principal at Ian Smith Design Group LLC, Philadelphia, PA
Janice Woodcock, AIA, LEED-AP, President at Woodcock Design Inc., Philadelphia, PA
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The Beinecke Library Renovation included a comprehensive replacement of all MEP-FP, security and lighting systems, restoration of interior and exterior building finishes, creation of additional study rooms and a program driven reconfiguration of back-of-house facilities.
Jury Comments: “We can see that it is part adaptive reuse, and mostly restoration, with the original mid-century feel restored to the building’s key spaces… the architects of the restoration knew that and were careful to retain it (recessed lighting ) in whole or in large part, and I thought that was admirable.”
Photo Credit: Robert Benson Photography
Historic Taft Hotel Dining Room
The new owners of the space envisioned a modern bistro with a historic flavor and wanted to bring back the detailing of the original dining room. Using photos of the dining room from the 1920’s, the Design Team approached this challenge with great care. Through a combination of strategic removal of materials from recent renovations, and targeted repairs of the original material and detail, we created a modern 6,000 square foot restaurant within the material environment of the original Taft Hotel dining room.
Jury Comments: “This preservation and restoration project brings back the feel of the original space leaving traces of the renovations behind with clues in the flooring… It creates a wonderful feeling of being in an historic place where the passage of time is not only noted but celebrated.”
Mark Twain House Mahogany Suite
David Scott Parker Architects LLC
The integrated design of the Mahogany Suite responded to the health concerns of the age, which parallel our own, that sought proper hygiene and ventilation along with the luxury of indoor plumbing and innovative heating. Within these interiors, the rich accoutrements served as a foil to the life and work of the author, the era’s social and cultural priorities whose historic relevance speaks to the past and to the present.
Jury Comments: “The Twain Project was a much more complex restoration interior restoration project because of the lack of original documentation in photographs… a blend between the imaginary and the physical world, that’s what this feels like to me… Impressive combination of research, scholarship, and respect for authenticity.”
Photo Credit: Robert Benson Photography, David Scott Parker, Mark Twain Archives, K. Patrick Ober, todayinhistory.com
Original windows, doors, cornice and other exterior features were repaired and maintained. The interior was necessarily gutted and extensively re-framed due to insect and water damage, but original millwork and flooring components were either left in place or repaired and re-installed. Essential points to note in the approach taken relate specifically to items 1-6 of the standards for rehabilitation. The house remains in its original use as a single-family home.
Jury Comments: “A piece of culture restored in every way… A sensitive restoration project of an important historic house…The effort incorporates the evolution of elements added to the original, and these too are restored and repaired.”
Photo Credit: John P. Franzen, FAIA
As a public resource, it is not enough that the 1903 building symbolizes the presence of the library, its spaces need to be functionally fully integrated with those of the rest of the building. The planning of the addition therefore balances the need for a clear articulation between what is new and what was restored with the need for the new and old space to have continuity. In plan, articulation of the new building envelope visually separate new and old but a broad neck connects the two so that functionally spaces flows as a continuum.
Jury Comments: “The way they repurposed it, they recognized that for today’s library users, the original building, had a lot of deficiencies to accommodate the kind of activities that we expect the library to encompass in today’s world… In relation to the outside. I really enjoy how the addition is modern looking, but does not copy the original library at all, and therefor make the original building stand out and be recognized as older. So, the outside is very masterful.”
Photo Credit: Robert Benson Photography; Peter Newman, Assoc. AIA
Two Roads Brewing
Neil Hauck Architects
This project involved the careful rehabilitation of an abandoned factory building to serve as a craft brewery. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation were closely followed. No changes made to the defining architectural characteristics of the building or the site. The historic character of the property was not only preserved but was celebrated in ways described below. Deteriorated elements, such as the steel windows, were retained and rehabilitated. Chemical and/or physical treatments were avoided wherever possible. The architectural character of the original factory was celebrated, and the building was given a new life.
Jury Comments: “This is a carefully executed project and solid reuse of an old factory; the insides have been transformed by natural light from windows that were saved rather than replaced… this project will hopefully attract others to wanting to take on building types like this and to give them renewed life as opposed to remove it…and get people to change their minds with regard to what preservation might mean and how it has to adapt.”
Photo Credit: Tim Lee Photography