Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott: 2015 BoY Winner for Firm’s Own Office
Victorian superstar H.H. Richardson established his architecture practice in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1874. Across the U.S., in the desert, Oscar Niemeyer’s Peruvian acolyte Wenceslao Sarmiento built the glassy drum-shape pavilions of the Phoenix Financial Center in the mid-20th century. Though their modernist style could not be further removed from Richardson Romanesque, the contrast was exciting to Joe Herzog, principal at Richardson’s successor firm—which is why he took a 10-year lease on one of the two pavilions and adapted it for a Sun Belt satellite. “I came to work here,” he says, “because of the lack of limitation and the willingness to experiment.”
To prepare the 9,000-square-foot pavilion for its new life, Herzog gutted accretions such as partitions to allow desks to stand free in an open plan. The 22-foot-high curtain wall, with its gold-anodized aluminum framing; an arched glazed tunnel; and the blue leaded glass set into a starburst at the apex of the rotunda’s dome are original. Ditto for the pendant globes, long stashed in the basement and now rehung. The flamboyant floating-surfboard staircase, with its gold-tone railing, gained cork-surfaced treads. While the walnut-paneled mezzanine became the library, the marble-walled bank vault safeguards something precious, gallery space.
Alison Rainey; Amy Loeschen; Ryan Grabe; Natalie Shutt-Banks; Gina Fombelle, Sarah Tocci; Tad Jusczyk; Calvin Cangco; Julio Guevara.