Bruner/Cott Architects has recently completed the renovation of The Speedway in Brighton, Mass. The project is a mixed-use transformation of a 19th-century trotting horse stable and metropolitan park police station and jail on the Charles River. Bruner/Cott worked with Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF) to preserve and revitalize the complex to stimulate community growth and economic development.
The original 1899 development turned a stretch of tidal mudflats into an interconnected series of public parks. The stables and park offices supported a race track beside the river for bicycle and trotting races. An irregular roofline connects six shingle-style buildings, creating a single-story courtyard, highlighted by arched gable entrances, porches, double hung windows, and wood trim.
The renovated complex now acts as a new gateway to the Allston-Brighton neighborhood, supporting a tenant mix including small retail shops and food vendors, a publicly-accessible community courtyard, a flexible event space, and anchor tenant Notch Brewing’s biergarten and brewery.
Bruner/Cott’s design approach to preservation included the removal of piecemeal garage extensions at historic stable frontages and the reconstruction of lost features including wooden carriage access, sliding barn doors, and an extensive series of carefully restored and replicated windows. Interior plaster was so damaged by a fire and rain that it was removed entirely to add insulation. Stables and a 1940 concrete garage were fitted with recessive glazed fronts and overhead doors to make connections to outdoor gathering spaces.
The buildings were designed to look like they did in 1899, 1904, and 1920 while supporting modern tenants.