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Hartford Building

Portsmouth, NH

Photography: Kimberly Roseberry

The project includes renovations and additions to an existing building located in the downtown Historic District in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at the corner of Congress and Chestnut Streets. The development goal was to add a floor to the building along the Congress Street side and renovate the exterior elevations of the first floor along both streets. The added floor would comprise approximately 4,700sf. The architectural context consists of an adjoining building we designed in 1998 and several late 19th century buildings including the Portsmouth Music Hall. The existing two- story structure known as the Hartford Building on Congress dates from the 1920s.

Our design approach to this project was to emphasize its corner location in relationship with our earlier design and the Vaughan Mall pedestrian way across the street. We did not seek to imitate the details and materials from the 1920s construction but to show a distinct break from it while aligning the fenestration. The storefronts in the existing building were generally dark and poorly built. We redesigned this streetscape facade to include higher glazing, less signage, better lighting and high quality wood and granite detailing. The design was highly praised by the normally conservative Historic District Commission during the course of its approval.