Town of Harvard – Hildreth House Senior Center

DAI was commissioned by the Town of Harvard to prepare a conceptual design to expand the dining room, a “warming” kitchen and multi-purpose room for the Hildreth House, a Senior Center in Harvard. The Hildreth House is a wood frame 3-story structure built in 1900. DAI’s scope of services includes interior planning, exterior design, M/E/P and structural engineering, and cost estimation. The building is registered with the state historic registry and is located along the edge of Harvard’s Historic district. Design is in progress.

The design team started with a visioning session to clarify the program and to prioritize goals for the project. The team discussed with the planning board, historic society and the fire department to clarify review protocols and obtain buy-in from these agencies. The team explored several site locations by discussing the ease of entry, convenient service access, and minimal impact to alter parking, topography and relocate existing utilities. DAI evaluated the option to have an addition or a separate building; it was decided that an addition will minimize the impact to upgrade the building systems of the existing structure, avoid the regulatory complications of adding to a historic building, and will not alter the historical significance of the Hildreth House.

Harvard was a farming community settled in 1658, it has been home to several non-traditional communities, such as the Harvard Shaker Village, the utopian transcendentalist center Fruitland’s, and St. Benedict Abbey. The design emphasizes the New England heritage of Harvard and the historic significance of the site. The three elements of the building include a “barn” which houses the multi-purpose/dining room, a “shed” where the support functions reside, and a covered porch with tables and chairs. Roof tiles, window styles and sidings are selected to visually connect the adjacent Hildreth House located 30 feet away. The building is located on the top of a hill with a steep slope, and the design includes a series of outdoor terraces to encourage outdoor activities and to reconcile the topography.

The multi-purpose/dining room can accommodate round tables with up to 90 seats; it can be
subdivided into three smaller spaces to accommodate various functions such as exercise and
art classes. This room has a cathedral ceiling showcasing the wood truss and allowing natural
light to flood the space through clerestory windows.

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