Honoring Historic Details to Bring a Landmark into the 21st Century
How the 2017 Marvin Architects Challenge “Best Remodel” winner brought form and function back to a failing city landmark.
Westborough, Massachusetts is a classic New England town, home to a quaint city center that had one unfortunate problem—a Town Hall building that was inefficient, underutilized and inaccessible. At the time of the renovation in 2016, less than 40 percent of the approximately 20,000 square foot, four-level building was being utilized due to lack of accessibility.
In order to restore this 1925 landmark to its original glory, Architect Brian Humes of Jacunski Humes Architects was tasked with major renovations to make the Westborough Town Hall usable again, which included enhancing the exterior facade by replacing all existing windows with historically accurate replicas.
“The Westborough Town Hall is located within the Historic District of the city, meaning that extensive reviews and approvals by their Design Review Board were required before selecting the appropriate window replacement that would not only duplicate the existing historic window, but provide a maintenance-free exterior and a wood interior that would help keep the building’s character intact,” said Humes.
Humes looked to Marvin as a design partner early in the process, identifying Ultimate Wood Double Hung Magnum, Awning and Specialty Shapes windows from the Marvin Signature Collection as the most historically-accurate matches. Dark brown exterior wood windows were replaced with new Stone White exterior windows to give a new life to the city’s Main Street—brightening the exterior and providing contrast against the dark, red brick.
Simulated divided lites with black perimeter and spacer bars were presented and received unanimous approval by the Design Review Board. Antique brass custodial locks, Low E2 glass with argon, spandrel glass and obscure glass on some units enhanced the selection process and combined for a uniformed appearance.
White Oak interiors were factory-stained a deep hazelnut color to compliment existing wood trim that was renovated in place as the building underwent its transformation.
To address accessibility issues, a new double-sided elevator was installed within the historic structure, and handicap ramps were installed on the exterior to bring accessibility to all entrances and exits. These updates mean that the building has now returned to full occupancy—open for use by town agencies and for public meeting space—and creating a source of civic pride in a facility that can now live up to its beautiful historic charm.
Brian Humes was named a winner in the 2017 Marvin Architects Challenge in the “Best Remodel” category. The panel of judges cited careful attention to detail in all windows, shutters and classical interior wood trim, as well as the commitment to renovating this nearly 100-year-old historic landmark as factors in their decision.