by Katherine Marr and Kevin Wynn
Berklee College of Music is undertaking a large renovation and restoration project at 150 Massachusetts Avenue, one of Berklee’s core academic and student life buildings on the Boston campus. Since last summer, Isaac Blair & Co. has been working for general contractor Columbia Construction to install the shoring required to support the structure during renovation, which includes the removal of a single-story, ground-floor prior-addition to the building on the north side of Belvidere Street. The renovation is designed to open up valuable sidewalk space for pedestrian traffic, enhance accessibility to and from the neighboring Saint Cecilia Church, and also enable a redesign of the façade to more closely resemble the appearance of the former Sherry-Biltmore Hotel. The shoring provided by Isaac Blair is allowing for the dismantling of brick piers and columns along Mass Ave. and the entire Belvidere Street side of the building.
Since the 1950s, the structure has undergone multiple renovations, and with each one, additional layers of steel were added to the existing steel framing. These layers of steel have added a challenge to the project as each layer has to be dismantled in the order it was installed. As a result, Isaac Blair is installing the appropriate shoring applications in phases. To accomplish this, and in consideration of poor soil conditions, Isaac Blair is utilizing double-needle shoring systems to support the six-story structure from the first floor. This system allows the shoring to be mounted on top of the existing foundation wall, which transfers the load directly back into the building’s foundation. This type of shoring utilizes multiple different shoring techniques including Shore-X and timber shoring.
Isaac Blair is expected to be onsite through late spring/early summer. The project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016.
Katherine Marr is the communications coordinator for the Marr Companies of South Boston. Kevin Wynn is general superintendent at Isaac Blair Co. in Boston.