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Piano Craft Guild

Piano Craft Guild

Designed as live-work space for artists, Piano Craft was the nation’s first conversion of a major mill structure into housing. The conversion of the Chickering Piano Factory to Piano Craft Guild Housing for Artists was a landmark development in the movement to recycle old buildings.

The Shoreline Corporation
South Boston, MA
Completed: 1974 225,000 sf
Photography by © Robert Benson

On the inside, the adaptive-reuse takes full advantage of the flexibility of the mill building. Studios of various sizes exploit high floor-to-ceiling heights with platforms and interflooring. Open spaces — defined by moveable closet/storage systems — are changeable, offering different possibilities for working and living.

A central one-acre outdoor courtyard was designed with tenant participation after initial occupancy; other amenities include an art gallery and separate studio spaces. Piano Craft Guild underwent renovations in 2016 to provide updated amenities for urban living. Renovations included a new entrance, new fitness space and pool, and a re-landscaped courtyard.

The conversion of this blighted industrial block helped begin the transformation of the neighborhood; it is now a desirable location to live near downtown Boston.