The site of Cambridge, 1, a gourmet bar and grill, dates back to the early 1900’s when it held the first firehouse in Harvard Square, known as Cambridge, 1. The firehouse was torn down and a new auto body repair shop took its place in the 1920’s. Later, a Chinese restaurant occupied and greatly altered the repair shop shell by adding a new parapet, creating smaller window openings, and covering the street façade with stucco.
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The act of reversing these additions and of uncovering to the original became the paradigm for the design, both inside and out, of the project. One primary goal was to reestablish the urbanism of the building and to reconnect pedestrian linkages to the building. To this end, oversized windows now fill newly uncovered masonry openings. The many original openings and varieties of brick revealed during the deconstruction have been restored or preserved with a few significant interventions: a new horizontal steel channel sits between the filler brick of the parapet and the finer brick below; a steel I-beam hung vertically with a single light shining up and down the web acts as signage; and black-painted steel visors have been added to the openings.
Inside, uncovered layers of brick, stone, and steel remain as artifacts, contrasting with new interior walls and structural supports made of unfinished masonry blocks and unpainted steel. A band of grooved American Cherry boards wraps the interior, providing a singular, luxurious embrace within the rustic shell. All bar and dining seating in the front of the space is elevated, with a central figure made of cast-in-place concrete pedestals, steel frames, cherry benches, and lab counters.
242 Incorporated, Matthew Curtis & Chris Lutes
Anmahian Winton Architects
Gregorian Engineers, Belmont. MA
Marc Truant Construction
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: William Bancroft, Marc Truant Construction