Project DescriptionIn 1854, the Waltham Watch Company made history by introducing precision engineering to mass production at this mill complex in Waltham, MA. The building and site are now resourcefully reordered for new office, residential and commercial use. Phase 1 included office and commercial space; Phase 2, a residential conversion comprising 96 dwelling units; Phase 3, a residential conversion comprising 67 dwelling units plus a parking garage.
Nineteenth-century entrances are now large lobbies, one with a permanent exhibit of Watch Factory history. Narrow wings with high ceilings—already flooded with natural light for watchmakers—house modern offices with views of the courtyards and the Charles River. Outside, a series of protected outdoor spaces invite pedestrians to move through the office buildings and a large residential courtyard. A new restaurant and café space marks the beginning of a historic walkway through Waltham along the Charles River.
The Watch Factory is on the Charles River, and responsible storm water management is a critical issue. A series of rain gardens collects, cleanses, and naturally cools storm water runoff. Roof water is collected in open granite and concrete runnels featured across the pedestrian courtyards and directed to specially planted areas. The design process included the Charles River Watershed Association, and the water is now clean and cool enough to release directly into the river.