BHAC Approves Application for Renovation of the Athenaeum’s South Balcony

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission approved an application as submitted for the renovation of the Boston Athenaeum’s south balcony during a virtual hearing on Thursday, May 21.

The applicant, Matthew Bronski, a principal with the Waltham engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, said the scope of the project includes removing existing waterproofing and slate paving from the balconies at the second- and fifth-floor levels at 10½ Beacon St. facing the Old Granary Burying Ground and replacing them with new waterproofing and non-slip bluestone paving. The proposed work also includes the replacement of non-original existing railings on the second- and fifth floors with equivalent railings that would be up to code, as well as the installation of a new copper gutter on the fifth floor.

The commission approved an extensive renovation of the Athenaeum’s north façade and terrace at its previous monthly hearing, which was held virtually on April 16.

In a matter continued from September of 2018, the commission approved the applicant’s to plan to construct an interior staircase at a two-story carriage house owned by the Park Street School at 55-57 Brimmer St., as well as planned changes to the design of the faux carriage house doors on the adjoining one-story garage while denying the proposed window reconfiguration and additions on the garage building to preserve the integrity of the historic building.

The Park Street School intends to convert the garage into a science lab and classroom while the former single-family residence upstairs would be repurposed as a meeting room and administrative offices.

On an application for a building owned by the Park Street Church at 3 Park St to replace insulated glass in kind; to replace an existing intercom system; and to replace an existing copper chimney-cap with a vented copper chimney-cap to restore the chimney to its original use, the commission gave its approval, with the provisos that the chimney cap be made of copper and not painted black, and that the modern intercom system be housed inside a brass box in keeping with the character of the neighborhood’s Historic District.

The commission also approved an application for 19 Myrtle St. to remove existing panel antennas at the roof level and replace them with new ones of similar size while painting them to match the existing structure, with the proviso that the antennas be housed inside a fiberglass screen enclosure painted the same color as the existing structure, and that the applicant submit drawings of the enclosure to staff for approval.

In another matter, the commission approved an application for 34 West Cedar St. to repair and repaint trim in kind, and to repair and replace slate in kind at the dormer level, with the proviso that the applicant provide a sample of new slate to staff for approval, and that the entire dormer be clad in slate for consistency with the district standards. 

In considering an application for the installation of a new gas line at the front façade garden level at 41 Beacon St., the commission approved it, with the proviso that the connection is made beneath the building to avoid penetrating any granite walls, and that the applicant submit drawings showing a trellis wood screen painted grey to staff for approval. The applicant will also need to provide a letter from the city indicating that the location of the gas meter is the only possible option, and that it can ‘t be installed inside the building.

The commission also approved an application to install new street numbers on the Archer Residences at 45 Temple St., with the proviso that the numbers not exceed 12.5 inches in size and match the material and color of the adjacent window mullions.

Meanwhile, the commission approved an application to install an alarm bell in the entryway of the front door at 54 Pinckney St., with the proviso that it be painted black or dark grey if permitted by the Boston Fire Department.

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