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Bedford Square: Revivifying urbanity

A suburban mixed-use redevelopment restores ‘the lost art of living closely.'

November 27, 2018 |
Renovated firehouse and Bedford Building

The historic Bedford Building and an old firehouse were renovated to create a denser mixed-use environment in suburban Westport, Conn. Nathaniel Riley Photography

When the local YMCA decided to move out of the historic Bedford Building and adjacent firehouse in Westport, Conn., Bedford Square Associates purchased the property and an adjacent lot to create a 1½-acre site for a 110,000-sf complex.

Bedford Square—a mix of retail, office, restaurant, residential spaces, and a new public piazza—creates an urban environment in a suburban location. The Westport historic district required the developer to preserve the public street façades—Tudor-style architecture in brick, half-timber, and stucco. The back portion of the Bedford Building underwent selective demolition to repurpose the structure as a retail store, restaurant, and offices.

The firehouse was converted into a restaurant and office suite with a rooftop terrace. Its large doors open southward to Church Lane, where two-story residential townhouses were added above retail shops.

A YMCA pool expansion (circa 1977) was demolished to clear the site for new residential units, a community gathering space, public courtyards, pedestrian alleyways, tree-lined sidewalks, and underground parking. The private residential terraces, although visible from the street, were set back to maintain a human scale.

Remnants of the old gym ceiling were restored; a skylight was added over a new three-story stair to daylight the interior.

The arched North Passage brings visitors from a municipal parking lot into the central piazza. The complex’s various entrances and passageways create what the designers at Centerbrook Architects and Planners describe as “the intrigue of a small, intimate European village.”


Nathaniel Riley Photography.


Silver Award Winner

BUILDING TEAM Centerbrook Architects and Planners (submitting firm, architect) Bedford Square Associates (owner/developer) Langan Engineering (CE, site design) BVH Integrated Services (MEP) Turner Construction (CM) DETAILS 110,000 sf Total cost Confidential Construction time January 2015 to August 2017 Delivery method CM at risk



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