Waltham Watch Factory Project, Massachusetts

Waltham Watch Factory Project, Massachusetts Redevelopment, Cambridge Architecture

Waltham Watch Factory Project, Massachusetts

American Building Redevelopment in Cambridge, MA, USA – design by Bruner/Cott & Associates

Oct 23, 2016

Charles River Watch Factory Redevelopment

Design: Bruner/Cott & Associates

Location: Cambridge, MA, United States of America

Waltham Watch Factory Project, Massachusetts

Cambridge, MA – Bruner/Cott, a full service architectural firm with an emphasis on larger institutional projects and urban development, announces the completion of its restoration/adaptive reuse of the 405,000 square-foot, 1854 Waltham Watch Factory complex. Located along the Charles River in Waltham, MA, the complex has been reimagined for a new mixed-use life. Executed in three phases, the project comprises residential and commercial spaces, a small museum that showcases the site’s industrial history, as well as new docks and a public path along the river.

Waltham Watch Factory

The Waltham Watch Company made its mark by introducing precision engineering into mass production. Operating in its expansive headquarters until 1949, there were a few light industrial and office tenancies in the ensuing years before its mixed-use renaissance. Phase I of the project, completed in 2009, occupies approximately 1/3 of the project’s square footage and includes office and commercial space as well as the small museum.

Waltham Watch Factory

Phases II and III, completed in 2010 and 2014, comprise the remaining square footage, and are almost entirely residential: Phase II added 96 residential units and spaces for a restaurant and café to the complex. Phase III added 67 residential units and a parking deck embedded in the sloping site.

Waltham Watch Factory

Bruner/Cott’s project interventions included the transformation of two historic entrances into large lobbies, one of which contains the museum.

Waltham Watch Factory

Narrow wings (25′ outside-to-outside) with high ceilings, already flooded with natural light for watchmakers, now house modern offices with views of landscaped courtyards and the river.

Waltham Watch Factory

Outside, a series of protected spaces provide circulation through the office buildings and interconnected courtyards.

Waltham Watch Factory

Docks mark each end of a continuous passage from a riverfront park and public boat-launch to Waltham’s historic center. The large residential courtyard contains a low building for bicycle and kayak storage.

Waltham Watch Factory Waltham Watch Factory

Sustainability in the project is largely addressed through the substantial commitment of Berkeley Investments, Inc. to stormwater management, critical due to the factory’s waterfront location and dense development. Extensive “horizontal-flow” rain gardens collect, cleanse, and naturally cool storm water runoff before its release into the river.

Waltham Watch Factory Waltham Watch Factory

The project developer and the Bruner/Cott design team worked closely with hydrologists from the Charles River Watershed Association and with environmental engineers from Haley & Aldrich on these systems. Richard Burck Associates was the landscape architect for the project, which received the 2014 USGBC Massachusetts Green Innovation Award. Paving and plant choices create a balance between the industrial interior of the site and its more civic and institutional street frontage.

Waltham Watch Factory

Waltham Watch Factory

The project was realized within the guidelines of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings was approved by the National Park Service, “The Watch Factory is Bruner/Cott’s fourteenth conversion of large industrial complexes for changes of use that revitalize their civic roles.

Waltham Watch Factory

The sensitive ‘second life’ transformation of this striking historic landmark ensures that it will serve the public good for many years to come,” said Principal-in-Charge Henry Moss.

Waltham Watch Factory

Waltham Watch Factory

Waltham Watch Factory

Project Facts:
Construction cost: $25,000,000
Phase 1: completed 2009 – office and commercial space: 177,000 sf
Phase 2: completed 2010 – residential conversion (96 units) and restaurant and cafe: 142,000 sf
Phase 3: completed 2012 – residential (60 units) and parking garage conversion: 86,000 sf

Waltham Watch Factory

Waltham Watch Factory

Waltham Watch Factory project images @ Richard Mandelkorn / drawings and information from Bruner/Cott & Associates


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Waltham Watch Factory Project

Website: Cambridge, MA