Bruner/Cott Architects has reimagined the Swift Gold Leaf Factory in Northeast Hartford into a 75,650-sf venue for generating opportunities for job creation and training, educating youth, improving resident health, and spurring economic growth.
Bruner/Cott, in partnership with Community Solutions, renovated and rehabilitated the former factory’s historical buildings and two homes, dating from 1887 to 1948. Architecturally, the project focused on repairing the neglected factory complex to its original character. Existing structures were gutted to make room for incubator kitchen space for fledgling local businesses, a community-based private school, and shared office space for local entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Opaque fiberglass windows, originally installed to block views of the gold leafing operation and to resist shattering, were replaced with black-framed glass windows. The factory’s brick facade was repaired and cleaned while new steel awnings clearly mark the entrances. Inside, new programs are identified with fresh signage among the building’s old columns and wood floors.
The new use of the historic Swift Factory considers the economic, health, social, cultural, and environmental conditions of North Hartford to create a sustainable, yet innovative model for improving the quality of life for the neighborhood’s residents.