fbpx The Overlook at St. Gabriel's | Boston Preservation Alliance
project star
2021
award winner
The Overlook at St. Gabriel's
Brighton
Revival Styles
Boston Landmark

42.3472724, -71.1454898

Reimagining a historic monastery, church, landscape, and shrine, this project brings a community in Brighton back to life, centering history in their program. 

 

A hilltop expanse now known as The Overlook at St. Gabriel’s in the heart of Brighton was once home to the Passionist Order of the Roman Catholic Church who in 1909 built an impressive monastery in the Spanish Mission style, unique in the Boston area. The Passionists employed the accomplished landscape architecture firm Olmsted Brothers to design a park-like green space including a circular drive in front of the monastery, a cemetery for members of the Order, and a park along Washington Street. Elements of these features remain today as highlights of the new complex. In 1929, the Church of St. Gabriel was constructed in the ornate Neo-Renaissance style with colorful stained glass and soaring cathedral ceilings. Rounding out the historic complex is the Fatima Shrine, completed in 1969 by a group of laymen who continue to use the building today. The monastery building was designated a Boston Landmark in 1989.

 

By 2016, when Cabot, Cabot, and Forbes began envisioning a new future for this site for much needed housing, the Roman Catholic Church had deaccessioned the campus and the complex was in a state of abandon and deep disrepair. To bring the monastery building back to life the team had to address extensive damage from years of water infiltration including rot and mold, as well as asbestos, lead paint, and animal damage. They found creative ways to overcome challenges for reuse of this building, preserving original fabric when possible and selecting complementary new materials as needed. The church building, which was also suffering from neglect and extensive deterioration, was originally slated for demolition. After further discussion with a variety of preservation advocates, the owner reconsidered and chose to transform the church into a focal amenity space for residents and community members. With both the monastery and church restored and the landscape brought back to life, the heritage of the site becomes a central part of its identity, the buildings are sensitively restored for active use, and the neighborhood can once again be proud of this significant Brighton historic site.  

 

“Imparting new life into a 14 acre site containing remnants of an Olmsted landscape and challenged by a 24,000 square foot church and Landmarked monastery, both deteriorated after 5 years of abandonment, requires a commitment to preservation. Add hundreds of units of new housing and you have a new mini-neighborhood anchored to its history,” say Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “CCF embraced collaboration and responded to much of the advice of community and advocacy groups such as the Alliance to balance preservation, resisting temptation for demolition. The result? A church, once claimed as unsalvageable, serves a central community use and the Landmark Monastery once again houses residents, bringing a complex once thought too far gone back for future generations to add their stories.”

 

 

Owner/Developer
Cabot, Cabot, & Forbes

 

Architect
Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype

 

General Contractor
Consigli

 

Project Team
Acentech
Acoustical Thermal Insulators, Inc.
Allied Consulting Engineers
Bohler
Boston Art
Brighton-Allston Historical Society
Business Interiors Floor Covering
C3
DeAngelis Iron Works
DePaoli Mosaic Company
DGT Survey Group
EBI Consulting
Epsilon Associates
Fatima Shrine Boston
Feldman
Gilbert & Becker
Haley & Aldrich
Infinisys
John Tiedemann, Inc. 
Kalin Associates
McNamara Salvia
Millwork One
PeakMade Real Estate
Petra Hausberger
PILOT
Poblocki Sign Company
Riggs Contracting, Inc.
Shadley Associates
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting
Sousa & Company, Inc.
Stained Glass Resources
VDA
The Waterproofing Company
Wellesley Antique Lighting

St. Gabriel's prior to restoration.
The Overlook at St. Gabriel's after restoration.
Chapel looking east after restoration. Photo by BH+A.
Chapel looking east prior to restoration. Photo by BH+A.
Cemetery at St. Gabriel's. Photo by Matthew Dickey.
Stained glass detail. Photo by Matthew Dickey.
Thank you to all our corporate members, including: