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A Preservation Milestone for The Gables: Climate Adaptations Charette

On April 26, The House of the Seven Gables held a daylong series of meetings, also known as a charette, to mark eight months of collecting data and facts about climate resiliency. This meeting was held as part of our Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Coastal Resilience Grant. The two-year grant, issued in September of last year, aims to develop an adaptation plan that lays out short-term site improvements, as well as a series of longer-term actions and decision points. The charette was a collaborative effort to bring together all the information gathered so far and generate discussion into next year’s grant project needs.


The morning featured presentations from Collins Engineers, Horsley Witten Group, and Union Studio Architecture and Community Design. Collins Engineers gave details on their inspection of our aging seawall and proposed adaptations and maintenance plans. Horsley Witten Group revealed the interplay between stormwater runoff, groundwater collection, and tide height increase to highlight problem areas on campus. Union Studios presented potential impacts on our buildings and infrastructure, and shared best practices for adaptations in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Several Salem departments, including conservation, engineering, and the historical commission, as well as the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, shared information and gathered feedback.


The second half of the day featured a smaller session between The Gables and its consultants. This working group talked about the direction for the next year of the CZM grant project and laid out likely adaptations that would be needed at key trigger points in 2030, 2050, 2070, and beyond. As the grant research continues, these points will continue to be defined, but we look forward to sharing the plans to ensure the sustainability of The House of the Seven Gables and its historic site into the undetermined future.


Morning presentations


Collins Engineers shares a 3D map of The Gables’ seawall

Date: June 1, 2023

Author: sperling

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