Originally built in 1890 as a biscuit factory for the U.S. Baking Company—a precursor of NABISCO—465 Medford Street is a multi-tenant office building within the Schrafft’s City Center Campus, Charlestown, Massachusetts. Adjacent to the Mystic River, this five-story brick-and-beam gem, with fabulous views of Boston, the harbor, and the riverfront, retains a handsome industrial masonry character. Last renovated in the 1980s, CBT’s recent design mission was to create vibrant, fresh social spaces for tenants and visitors in the building’s ground floor, emphasize the building’s site within the larger Schrafft’s campus, and newly celebrate the building’s history and original architecture.
Now—from the outside-in—465 Medford is renewed and reenergized with a new sense of place. The exterior redesign includes a revitalized, more spacious entrance experience and a 70-foot-tall mural on the building’s corner masonry tower. The large-scale recreation of the baking company’s logo, painted in white on warm grey background and intentionally off-center, evokes the past in a thoughtful, artistic way.
At the same time, sometimes it’s good to let go of the past. In this case, the building’s oversized 1980’s-era entrance canopy—which had created a dark, cavernous environment and obscured part of the masonry facade—is replaced with a crisp, cantilevered metal canopy that identifies the entrance without crowding it. The landscape redesign clears thick shrubbery around the facade that overshadowed the exterior and dimmed the interior, adding appropriately scaled plantings for more green space in the same footprint and a new paved plaza with outdoor café seating.
Inside, the ground level of 465 Medford is reimagined and reconfigured as a multi-space, multi-use lobby where building staff can collaborate, relax, and connect. With a fireside sitting area, spots for individual or group work or socializing, a café— “The Biscuit”—and a kitchenette, tenants now have many choices for places that bring variety to their day. Open and airy interiors are grounded by the original brick walls, many of which host wall graphics and signage that—like the exterior tower—connect to the building’s bakery origin in playful and engaging ways, adding color and whimsy.
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