Award of Excellence: Special Projects Category
Motor Mart Garage
Submitted by Walker Parking Consultants
The Motor Mart Garage is a well recognized, eight-story building located in the heart of downtown Boston. Originally constructed in 1929, Motor Mart was featured as the largest garage in the world, designed with a futuristic double threaded helix ramp system. That same year, it won the Harleston Parker Award from the Boston Society of Architects on its architectural merit. By the late 20th Century, the 76 year old Motor Mart was in need of major internal and external restoration.
A comprehensive condition appraisal revealed a badly deteriorated structural system and facade. The Motor Mart Garage underwent restoration using full and partial reinforced slab and beam replacements, installation of a new floor drainage system, and protection of the slabs with a waterproof membrane system. The existing facade, composed of cast stone sections, masonry units, and window fenestrations, was beyond economic salvageability. Complete facade replacement was performed by removal and replacement with a new high quality precast system that replicated the original building design and features.
Two other projects were undertaken in the garage — one to convert the rooftop to additional parking spaces and the other to totally renovate the current retail areas on street level to premiere tenant space. The sheer magnitude of the entire project, its location and scheduling constraints, and the requirement to maintain operations at all times were some of the complex issues the design and construction team were challenged to overcome.
The multi-project program was completed in two years. The end result is a Motor Mart Garage that, through extensive repair and protection, has its rich historic value restored, an extended service life, and many other improved features. It now boasts increased vehicle capacity, increased tenant capacity at street and basement levels, and maximum utilization of the retail areas by premiere tenants. The Motor Mart Garage is a shining example of the reclamation of a historic landmark building—after years of deterioration, it has finally regained its position in the transportation hub of historic Boston.