Preserving History with Modern Materials
Since the 1890’s, the James Ord Block has served as a historic town center in Medfield, Massachusetts. The four-story building is architecturally distinctive from neighboring buildings because of its unusual and massive gambrel roofline, known for its upper shallow slope and lower steep roof.
| 5/28/2019 9:13:44 AM
For over 100 years, it has seen its share of businesses: a furniture store, hardware shop, roller skating rink, orchestra rehearsal space, and ice cream parlor, to name a few. And to keep this structure a constant in town, architect and Medfield local David Sharff wanted to bring the historic Dutch Colonial Revival back to its heyday.
His vision and execution of preserving the existing features, while enhancing the character of the building won him the 2017 HardieDesign Contest.
“It’s exciting to be a part of a project so central to the history of the town in which I live and work,” said Sharff.
The project started with creating a new foundation and structural framing on the inside to support the development of the first-floor farm-to-table restaurant. From there, Sharff’s focus moved to the façade. For him, it was important to consider and honor the original design details, while using modern materials.
The original wood clapboard was refreshed with HardiePlank® lap siding in Select Cedarmill©. “The 5-1/4” lap siding finishes at a 4” exposure and strongly resembles cedar clapboards used during the Colonial-era in New England, making it an ideal choice,” Sharff said.
For the last decade, the building had been painted a dark, blue color, so Sharff wanted to keep it. He chose lap siding with baked on ColorPlus® Technology in Deep Ocean and HardieTrim® boards in crisp Arctic White. “The rich blue has a very historic, Colonial-era feel and contrasts brilliantly with the white trim work,” Sharff said.
When preserving and refreshing the James Ord Block, it was also important to consider the New England climate. James Hardie siding and trim is Engineered for Climate®, which means the refreshed siding and trim will resist shrinking, swelling and cracking even after years of wet or freezing conditions and blizzards.
Sharff uses James Hardie siding and trim on many of his architectural projects because he appreciates the authentic style, low maintenance and high technology of the materials—it’s an ideal way to preserve the beauty of New England one building at a time.
“In the past five years so much positive design change has been happening to the buildings within several blocks of our Town Center,” Sharff said. “It’s nice to be part of a project that contributes to that revitalization.”