One of our nine 2017 Preservation Awards Winners was the rehabilitation of the Probate and Family Court House. The project that turned the 1909 Registry of Deeds into the 2017 Probate and Family Court building is a stunning rehabilitation that is the result of a five year planning and design process by the architecture firm Perry Dean Rogers. The building stands out even amid a row of monumental buildings on Federal Street. The fully restored exterior is capable of stopping you in your tracks. Careful brick and granite cleaning and new windows bring a youthful glow to this old building. Accessibility ramps are subtly tucked into the façade allowing the portico to retain its grandiosity. New doors were designed to meet the intent of the long lost original doors and those gorgeous lanterns cast a comforting glow on the evening streetscape.
During the course of the project the intention was always to keep as much historic fabric as possible. The team evaluated the interior to decide what highly visible and architecturally significant areas could be restored; what would be rehabilitated by continuing the character of the building into areas with less architectural detailing; and what areas, such as utility space, was non-significant and could just be renovated.
Restoration focused on the lobbies with their marble floors, columns and walls; the monumental stairs and elevator with highly decorative grillwork; and it included a historic courtroom and the double height Register of Probate space. In many cases where woodwork could not be reused it was reproduced and replaced. The marble is entirely original with just a few placed that needed repair. Light fixtures were refurbished to accept energy efficient light bulbs.
The east wing waiting area features an original skylight that was moved from elsewhere in the building. This preservation award is given specifically to the restoration of the historic building, but the new construction can’t go without mention. The addition flows seamlessly through the interior spaces with equally high quality finishes throughout. The exterior is unapologetically contemporary with design and materials that carefully address the scale and motif of the original building and the surrounding court buildings.
We celebrate this renovation with a Historic Salem Preservation Award, presented to Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects.