We designed the Historic New England Center for Preservation—a public-facing and broadly-engaging cultural venue—to act as a catalyst and centerpiece in the development of a new cultural district. Located in the historic Lang building at 151 Essex Street, the HNE Center would accommodate a curatorial vision that integrates storytelling with the visible acts of conservation, and programming to take it from being a rarified collection to one that draws locals and visitors alike.
HNE’s collection of objects, photography, art, and documents reflect the social history and material culture of New England. It adds up to a deep history of making, and a culture of making that continues in New England today. Lang’s sister and neighboring building, the Burgess Building, may hold creative studios for entrepreneurs, artists, makers, and creative companies, making it a hub of creative innovation.
The open space between the two historic buildings offers a public park for intergenerational programming that pulls the community in, acting as an approachable starting point from which to discover the district. Across the Essex Street, prominently visible from arrival on the train and by road, a new Welcome Center would brightly mark a new cultural district. This Welcome Center would house rotating exhibitions and education programming.
Across the train line, a hotel with galleries, event space, restaurants, and a Market Hall would support the district. The Market Hall might house a collection of New England purveyors, reflective of the cuisine and culture of New Englanders today.
For nearly a century, Haverhill was known as the Queen Slipper City, for its vast shoemaking industry.
An aerial image of Downtown Haverhill shows the waterfront location along the Merrimack River, and the rail line, offering quick connection to Boston and neighboring cities.
The Burgess and Lang buildings once housed the largest shoe factory in the world! Now, The Historic New England Center for Preservation runs a vast collections facility in the Lang Building.
Could we imagine, within the historic structure, a new home, a new Historic New England Center for Preservation? In placing a public plaza between the buildings, might we envision a new cultural district?
The Pavilion would connect the Lang and Burgess Buildings, and could display rotating collections, film screenings, events, and more.