One of our nine 2017 Preservation Awards Winners was the renovation of the former Convent at 7 Howard Street. Larry Frej and Joe Skomurski joined forces for this project, bringing their individual backgrounds in planning, landscape architecture, development and contracting to adapt the former convent for St. John the Baptist Church for use as six residential condominium units in the dense historic neighborhood of Howard Street.
Built in the early 60's the buff-colored masonry building has been respectfully adapted for residential use with homage to its original mid-century modern aesthetic. Care was taken by the developers to retain much of the original character and use the buildings unique details to harmonize with contemporary interventions. Of particular note is the serpentine canopy which was restored and extended to emphasize entry and provide cover. A skewed support column strengthens the canopy geometry and adds a contextual but contemporary edge to the facade. New windows in existing openings provide ample natural light and ventilation. Period interpretive lighting and entry door reinforce the mid-century modern aesthetic along with new balconies informed by the entry porch rail which was retained and restored.
Dramatic color treatment to the front and rear elevation coupled with the restoration of the flying cornice enlivens the street presence and creates an exciting contemporary intervention to Howard Street without sacrificing its mid-century defining elements.
This project joins a group of past Preservation Award winners in this neighborhood as it reinvents itself as a vibrant urban neighborhood. We celebrate this renovation with a Historic Salem Preservation Award, presented to Joseph Skomurski, Larry Frej, and Seger Architects.