Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A beam is signed Tuesday before being raised to the top of The Foundry building construction in East Cambridge. (Photo: Kwesi Budu-Arthur)

Architecture and design firm CambridgeSeven and contractor W.T. Rich celebrated placement of the final steel beam Tuesday on The Foundry, an East Cambridge community building expected to open in 2022.

The city and Cambridge Redevelopment Authority are transforming the 19th century industrial building – once everything from the Blake & Knowles Steam Pump Co. to a midcentury taxi barn and office space – into a destination for the visual and performing arts, entrepreneurship, technology and workforce education. CambridgeSeven was hired as master planner, architect and interior designer.

How CambridgeSeven envisions inside The Foundry building when it opens in 2022.

The firm said in a Tuesday press release that it has “inserted structural steel and a decorative metal-clad addition into an historic masonry shell to create a playful and productive synergy between new and old.”

In the firm’s description of its work at The Foundry:

“A sculptural entry leads visitors through an intimate portal and into the soaring interior atrium space, which features the original, heavy timber roof structure. This new Community Hall is enhanced with warm wood detailing and supergraphics that make the former manufactory a welcoming, delightful and inspiring community space.”

The final beam was signed by representatives of CambridgeSeven such as Stefanie Greenfield and Danielle McDonough, W.T. Rich president Brian Santos and city staff including Michael Black, Robert Garner and Brendan Roy, then hoisted to the roof of the project with a flag and small tree.

The completion and opening dates have slipped a bit from expectations in January 2018, when CambridgeSeven was selected. Long before the coronavirus was imagined, the hope was that the Foundry would open in 2020 and be complete in 2021. In December 2018, the expectation was for an opening this February.