National Park Service, Charlestown Navy Yard Building 125 Historical Renovation

  • Project Type:Historical Renovation
  • Owner:National Parks Service
  • Location:Charlestown, Massachusetts
  • Architect:Neshamkin French Architects
  • Project Dates:January – October 2015

Over the course of 10 months, DCBA systematically renovated the historical Building 125, which is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Built in 1905, Building 125 was originally used as the Navy Yard’s paint shop and for the construction and refitting of Navy vessels. Building 125 was the first structure on the 30-acre shipyard to include an electric elevator in its original design. When the Navy Yard closed in 1974, after 175 years of use, the land and buildings became part of the Boston National Historic Park. Today, the Navy Yard attracts over one million visitors annually and is run by the National Park Service. From the very start of this design-build project, DCBA was determined to preserve the rugged, unique character of the two-story, 10,186 sq. ft. building. We met with a historical consultant before beginning renovations to the structure and adjacent lot. Exterior work included improvements to the lot and exterior wall renovations. Inside, DCBA had to abate the whole building, overhaul the MEP systems, add under-slab utilities, and remove the historical double-hung windows so they could be restored before being reinstalled. DCBA’s design maintained the existing stairs, elevator shaft, and masonry walls. The majority of the first floor was turned into an open-concept office area with half-wall partitions to create individual workspaces. The new layout also included glass-walled office spaces, team rooms, a kitchenette, restrooms, a gym area, and a training room (which was designed to support critical services in Building 125 during emergency situations). Architectural finishes encompassed painting, new lighting fixtures, energy-efficient equipment, and more. DCBA left room in the main entryway to create an educational space about the history of Building 125. Shadow boxes and display cases will showcase artifacts and photos of the original Navy Yard paint shop. DCBA’s renovation is part of a larger effort by the National Park Service to revitalize the Navy Yard through the rehabilitation of historical buildings.