Boston – The open house held at the Hayden building on Monday, June 4 signaled the beginning of a new chapter in the building’s eccentric history. Renowned architect HH Richardson designed the building in 1875. However the Hayden fell into neglect as Boston’s red light district nick named “the Combat Zone” developed around it. In 1985 a fire damaged its upper floors. In 1993 Historic Boston Incorporated in a similar state of disrepair.
However, the Hayden will soon undergo drastic changes. The bottom floor is to be converted into a commercial retail space, while the upper four floors will be converted into four residential spaces. CUBE Design and Research of Boston, has done the design for these spaces.
Richardson’s rhythmic windows flood the space with natural light and open it up to the city. The original brick arches and sandstone masonry can be seen on the interior. In a building that was not originally designed for residential use, CUBE has come up with some creative and sleek storage solutions without altering the existing space. Examples of these designs, and renderings of the new interior can be found The Hayden Building website. I especially like the kitchen shelving that makes use of one of the buildings exposed support beams.
While the abundance of windows could have been a potential setback for a residential space, leaving private spaces exposed to Washington St., CUBE has come up with a floor plan that accommodates the private spaces necessary for a residence, while still utilizing the iconic Richardsonian windows to light public spaces.
The restoration of this building will continue the transformation of the former combat zone into another historic sector of Boston with its own distinct identity. As Mayor Menino argued in a speech at Monday’s open house; the continued preservation and renewal of buildings like the Hayden is what gives Boston its architectural character, while at the same time allowing it to become part of the canon of contemporary architecture.