Rosales Partners was recently awarded a 2020 Bulfinch Award by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art in the Historic Preservation category for its role as lead architect on the $300-million-plus restoration of the Longfellow Bridge.
“The Longfellow Bridge was restored and enhanced with the highest level of historic preservation integrity,” wrote Miguel Rosales, president and principal of the Boston-based architectural firm that bears his surname ”It is very rewarding that the landmark bridge continues to win top national and international awards in the fields of architecture, historic preservation and bridge engineering.”
The iconic bridge that spans the Charles River from Charles Circle in Boston to Kendall Square in Cambridge was called the Cambridge Bridge upon opening in 1907, but renamed the Longfellow Bridge in honor of the venerable American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1924. A multimodal structure that accommodates MBTA trains, motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists, it consists of 11 original, open-spandrel, steel-arch spans with a total length of 2,132 feet. The deck measures approximately 105-feet wide, and the bridge substructure is built of granite masonry, consisting of 10 hollow piers and two abutments. Its central bridge span is marked by four neo-classical, granite towers, which accounts for its nickname – the “Salt and Pepper” Bridge.
As part of the bridge’s most recent renovation, which was completed two years ago and was the first major facelift it had received since the 1950s, its ornate, cast-iron pedestrian railings were restored or replicated while its granite masonry was cleaned and conserved. Original ornate bronze doors and wood windows were cleaned or recreated using their original profiles and detailing.
A new state-of-the-art lighting system was installed beneath each of bridge’s 12 arches while the original historic lighting posts were replicated and placed along the bridge at the historic granite niches, which mark the location of the arches below. The historic lamps originally attached to the granite towers were replicated and placed in their original locations as well.
Rosales also designed the $12.5 Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge as a major component of the Longfellow project. The 230-foot-long, steel arch span that links Beacon Hill/Charles Circle to the Charles River Esplanade opened two years ago. It is named for “Fanny” Appleton, Longfellow’s wife, as a lasting testament to their courtship during the 1840s when he crossed the Charles River from Cambridge to Beacon Hill each day to visit her.
Initiated in 2010 by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, a self-described New York City-headquartered nonprofit “dedicated to advancing the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism and their allied art,” the annual Bulfinch Awards honor projects that build on the legacy of Charles Bulfinch, a Boston native who is widely regarded as the country’s first professional architect. This year’s award winners will be recognized at a ceremonial reception and dinner gala scheduled for Sept. 19 at the Harvard Club of Boston.
Since its most recent renovation, the Longfellow Bridge has also received the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award, which is widely considered the most important historic preservation accolade in the U.S. for restoration work; the 2018 Lighting Design Award – Heritage Lighting LIT trophy; the 2019 Preservation Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Historical Commission; the 2019 Preservation Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance; and the 2019 Public Works Project of the Year in Historical Restoration from the American Public Works Association.