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Success at South End Landmarks Hearing

RODE is thrilled to announce that our proposal for 157 West Springfield Street was approved by the South End Landmark District Commission after more than a year of development and discussions with the City of Boston and the South End community.

The design team met with the Landmarks Commission for two advisory hearings over the course of a year before the formal hearing took place on August 2nd. RODE engaged in a productive conversation with the Commissioners that led to the more refined details for the renovation and an improved material palette for the addition. The Commissioners “found our responsiveness refreshing” and really appreciated RODE’s approach to the restoration of this historic building.

The Ebenezer Baptist Church was founded by a group of former slaves from Virginia who began worshipping in a member’s kitchen in 1847 before moving into the church at 157 West Springfield Street in 1887. The congregation left in 2020 for a larger space better suited to the needs of their changing membership.

The renovation and two-story addition to the Ebenezer Baptist Church is an exciting opportunity to restore a historic building and create nine new residential units on site. The project will restore the existing brickwork while creating a new architectural intervention that will be respectful of the existing structure. On the front façade, the stone stoops will be repaired, the gardens revitalized, and the front doors restored to reflect their historic appearance. SEDLC commissioners loved the fact that RODE “put renovation first” and appreciate the designs clarity between renovated existing building and the contemporary addition.

The addition is formed by pulling up the four corners of the existing roof to create large dormers, allowing light and air into the new units. Following the structural rhythm of the original roofline, the ridge line of the existing roof is referenced in the forms of the new addition. The glossy materials under the new roof reflect the context back into the neighborhood, suggesting the new roof is floating over its historic base.


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