The American Meteorological Society occupies two historic buildings at the Harrison Gray Otis property in Beacon Hill, both designed by Charles Bulfinch in 1806. Our firm radically redesigned the neglected carriage barn, transforming it into a modern office space. Later, we were engaged to meticulously restore and reconstruct the original mansion.
The carriage barn’s design creates contemporary office space within an antique building. The barn’s limited footprint required introduction of a mezzanine level within the barn.
The essence of the design emerged from the relationship between the new mezzanine, the existing masonry walls and exposed heavy timber roof, and the new steel beams required to support the mezzanine.
This new level was designed to possess an identity independent of the original shell, having the appearance of being skewered by the new steel beams. Its floor provides space for upper level workstations, while its underside provides both lighting and enclosure for the workstations below.
The suspended story emphasizes the character of the barn as a singular, historic volume that houses a contemporary structure within. In keeping with the original nature of the barn as an outbuilding, the palette of materials remains simple and direct: plywood, structural lumber, fiberglass panels, and raw steel.