One piece of our Congress Square project includes transforming the existing streetscape of the old Shawmut National Bank building into an active, pedestrian friendly retail and restaurant environment. The existing building includes several design features prominent in old bank structures, including dark windows and heavy metal grillwork. These features were important to a bank’s ability to convey a sense of privacy and security to their customers. However, we hope to create a lively, active, pedestrian friendly, retail zone, which calls for transparency and direct visual connection to the public realm.
Our design team’s response was to replace the old, single pane windows with more energy efficient, ultra-clear insulated glazing, and to restore the existing grillwork, preserving the historic characteristics of the original building. To assist our design process we asked Consigli, our contractor on the project, to clean a portion of the grillwork and to ascertain the original color. To our pleasant surprise, we discovered the grillwork is actually copper plated! The portion we’ve restored is beautiful, and once cleaned, reveals much more of the craftsmanship and detail in the metal work than currently visible. We’ll now be restoring the grillwork to its original, copper dipped shine, further adding to the exciting new pedestrian experience at street level.
Of course now our team can’t help but wonder: what lies beneath the rest of the painted metal work around Boston?