The Challenges of Preserving Historic Buildings
The Edison Lofts
Founded in 1630, the city of Boston, Massachusetts, prides itself of retaining many of its historical elements alongside modern features. Nowhere is this more evident than in the city’s architecture, as ornate brick buildings that represented prestigious locales 200 years ago now stand beside towering skyscrapers.
BCG was tasked to repair the façade of one such building—the Edison Lofts in Boston’s Financial District. The building was constructed in 1890 as a warehouse for the Boston Edison Company, one of the earliest electric utility companies in the United States. In 2001, in was converted to modern luxury loft-style condos that still retain original features such as exposed beams and bricks.
Repairing historical buildings entails many inherent challenges. In addition, in New England communities like Boston, changing seasons bring temperature and water level fluctuations that can wreak havoc on the exterior of old buildings. Below are some of the challenges BCG encountered during repairs of the Edison Lofts:
- Accessing the rear elevation of the building was difficult due to the tight workspace and locations of the fire escape and HVAC equipment.
- As the project continued into the colder months, our team had to take extra care to mitigate damage to newly placed repairs.
- After careful assessment, we decided against repairing the decorative cornice elements in a manner that matched the originals due to cost and time constraints.
- The amount of bird guano that had to be abated prior to performing the work was significant.
BCG welcomed both the challenges and opportunities of working at the Edison Lofts, and helping to preserve a piece of history for one of the nation’s oldest cities.