Pirie Associates is an award-winning design firm that specializes in merging historic preservation with sustainable design strategies and mission-driven visioning to bring renewed vitality to historic structures. We have specific expertise in working with non-profit organizations and navigating the complexities of grant-funded projects. Pirie Associates’ client-centered, integrated approach is the foundation of our creative process. Our interdisciplinary team of architects, landscape architects, and interior designers collaborates throughout the design process to generate plans for historic landscapes and interiors that are sensitive to their original design intent. The resulting environments reflect the unique passions and purpose of each client, support them in the fulfillment of their organizational missions, and are designed with exacting attention to detail.
Amos Bull House-Butler McCook Carriage House Addition and Renovation, Hartford CT
Original Construction Date: 1788 and 1865
Style: Federal and Italianate
The Amos Bull House, one of the four remaining 18th century buildings in Hartford, was destined for demolition as part of Hartford’s 1960s urban renewal. The first Connecticut building to be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, it was saved from destruction when it was relocated to the Butler McCook property a few blocks away. Nearly 40 years later, after Connecticut Landmarks was gifted the Butler McCook Homestead, the State of Connecticut deeded the Amos Bull House to Connecticut Landmarks. The resulting collection of historic buildings and the surrounding landscape represented three centuries of Hartford’s architectural heritage. Pirie Associates was brought on to help make the Amos Bull House and the collection of five Butler McCook Campus structures function as a cohesive whole and to transform the Amos Bull House and the adjoining Butler McCook Carriage House into the Connecticut Landmarks Headquarters. The renovated campus includes archival storage, local community meeting space, program and event space, and offices for Connecticut Landmarks.
PAA also prepared the concept design for the renovation of the Main Street entrance to the Butler McCook garden, originally designed by Jacob Weidenmann in 1865. The redesigned entry creates a welcoming plaza and garden space fronting Main Street, which utilizes some of the landscape vocabulary of the Victorian era garden as well as new landscape features that support the Carriage House’s new function as Connecticut Landmarks Headquarters. The new entrance design is clearly distinguishable from the historic gardens but fits within the character of the entire site. In addition, PAA prepared a restoration plan for the c.1850 greenhouse structure. The recommendations outlined in the restoration plan responded to the location of the structure in an urban environment, SHPO and Secretary of the Interior standards for historic structures, and practical concerns of maintenance by a non-profit organization. The restoration plan restores both the structural integrity and function of the greenhouse so it can remain a focal point of the garden for another century.
The scope of work for this multifaceted project included master planning and programming for the campus as well as comprehensive renovations and an addition to the Amos Bull and Butler McCook Carriage Houses. Work included energy performance improvements, full architectural and interior design (including archival storage and display lighting), millwork/cabinetry, and landscape design.
This project was completed in 2014, and received the 2014 CT AIA Historic Preservation Design Citation Award.
Nathan Hale Homestead Ell Addition and Renovation, Coventry CT
Original Construction Date: series of additions dating from pre-1776 through early 20th century
Style: Colonial Vernacular
The birthplace of Nathan Hale, Connecticut’s state hero, this homestead is now a museum and historic education center on the National Register of Historic Places. Pirie Associates was engaged for the adaptive re-use of the existing Ell structure and adjacent landscape and exterior gathering spaces to house Visitor’s Services. Additionally, the project supports the educational charge of Connecticut Landmarks while enhancing the organization’s sustainability and vitality.
The scope of work for this project included master planning, programming, and design. The restoration design involved adaptation and renovation of the Ell portions of the National Register Museum House for use as guest services, a gift shop, a catering kitchen, and public restrooms. The project also included energy performance improvements, full architectural and interior design, millwork/cabinetry, and landscape design. Our firm uncovered historical phasing that was previously unknown by the owner, and as a result Pirie Associates helped update the narrative shared with site visitors. Visitorship has increased 10 fold since the project’s inception, as it has become a destination and anchor for the regional community.
This project was completed in 2012, and received a 2014 CT Trust Preservation Merit Award, a 2014 CBC Design Award, and the CT AIA 2014 People’s Choice and Business Design Awards.
Coastal Residence, CT
Original Construction Date: 1951
Style: Midcentury Modern
Originally constructed in 1951 as part of a family compound, this Tony Smith-designed house suffered from years of insensitive additions, alterations, and neglect. The client’s goals for the project were to restore the building to its original design intent and to meet the family’s 21st century needs. This was achieved in part through the construction of a new bedroom wing connected to the original structure by a glass-enclosed bridge, keeping the sculptural, stand-alone character of the original design intact. Existing structural elements were refurbished and original documentation was studied to restore Tony Smith’s design intent, including a stucco exterior. Sustainable strategies were employed to heat, cool, and enclose the original structure, raising its ability to perform to today’s energy standards even with an extraordinary amount of glass.
Primary Contact: Laura Pirie
Address: 33 Whitney Avenue, Suite 2A, New Haven, CT 06510