First parish CONCORD EXPANSION

Concord Massachusetts 2010

+ Information

Program

  • Addition of 7,500 sf for 5 classrooms, 4 offices, 2 stairs, and 1 elevator
  • Renovations throughout for accessibility and life safety
  • Complete gut renovation of Mill Dam Preschool, commercial kitchen, offices, and restrooms

Design

    A classic New England meetinghouse and iconic monument central to Concord’s civic and spiritual identity, First Parish is site of the First Provincial Congress of 1774 and the house of worship for American Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Its history and architecture demand safekeeping. Drawing upon the materials and lines of the meetinghouse, but not its historicist details, the new wing composes a serene backdrop to the loggia and renovated church green. Previously inaccessible, this outdoor space is re-activated by the loggia, welcoming all to new entrances, and is made level with stone terrace and grass quadrangle for social events such as weddings and community picnics. Providing barrier-free cover and access, the architecture updates the Doric order of the meetinghouse with modest scale and spare simplicity.

Sustainability

  • Sited entirely within the 100 foot riverfront area, the new wing and landscape intercept surface runoff from parking (which had previously washed into the adjacent Mill Brook, a tributary of the Concord River) in order to filter and settle this flow through subsurface structures, and direct it to the aquifer
  • Project is sited over and fully recycles pre-existing footprint and foundations
  • Renovated mechanical systems reduce energy use and operating costs
  • New materials with high recycled content and low-V.O.C used throughout

Recognition

  • Certified as a “Green Sanctuary” by the Unitarian Universalist Association