BHAC Approves Modified Design for 27 Brimmer St. With ‘Glass Box’ Headhouse

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission voted to approve a modified application for 27 Brimmer St. via Zoom at its March 18 monthly hearing.

Peter White, the applicant’s architect, returned to the commission, which voted to continue the original application at its Feb. 18 hearing, with a proposal he described as “modified and stripped down” in response to feedback that its size and visibility should be minimized.

The applicant had proposed work on the roof deck, said White, including removing and rebuilding a headhouse in a new location; replacing the floorboards and guardrails; and installing a “new flat-glass panel, walk-on skylight.” Also, the applicant, he added, has proposed installing a wood screen matching the height of the existing chimney to block AC units, as well as covering an existing sky-hatch with decking and eliminating a large existing skylight comprising six windows.

 Instead of a proposed headhouse that was 7 feet, 9 inches above the roofline and 9 inches lower than what the applicant had proposed last month (but still visible from the Esplanade, as well as from the corner of Pinckney and Mount Vernon streets), the commission approved another option to provide access from the staircase via a sliding skylight to the roof deck, described as a “glass box,” that was set back and therefore wouldn’t be visible from any “significant viewshed.” 

Commissioner Miguel Rosales said:  “The views from the Esplanade, which is a certified Landmark park, are important and should be preserved because they are within  the purview of the historic commission”. 

White said he didn’t believe this structure would require any zoning relief, but that he would have to research the matter. 

Nick Armata, senior preservation planner for the city, told White if this wasn’t the case, however, the application would “null and void,” and would need to be resubmitted.

The commission approved the rest of the proposed work on this application, including the replacement of the railing, since it was already visible from the Esplanade, and because the applicant provided documentation to staff that it had been approved by the Boston Landmarks Commission in 2007.

In another matter, the commission voted to approve an application for Kured, a new business coming to 83 Charles St. and specializing in the delivery of charcuterie bouquets, to install a new 21-by-36-inch wood sign, semi-gloss and painted black, with the company name in white lettering, as well as to remove an existing non-historic awning.

On an application for 55 Chestnut St., the commission approved the installation of a galvanized-steel, bar-style snow retention system on the front façade at the roof level, with the proviso that it be fabricated in bronze for improved compatibility with the historic district.              

The commission also approved an application for 32 Derne St. to install a new screened-fence trellis and planters on a common roof, with the proviso that a proposed pergola, which was visible from several locations, be removed.

No outstanding violations were discussed at this hearing.

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