2011 Recipient | AIA Housing Awards

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50 Saint Peter Street/ Historic Salem Jail | Notes of Interest

The project restored a three-building historic jail complex and adapted it for residential and mixed use, including a full-service restaurant and an exhibit space devoted to the history of the jail property. The original jail building was constructed in 1813, with a major addition by Gridley J. F. Bryant in 1884. The complex also includes a carriage house and a jail keeper’s house, attributed to Samuel McIntire.

The oldest in continuous operation in the country, the jail was declared unfit by a Federal judge in 1991, was closed, and subsequently was abandoned. It languished for two decades. Located on prime real estate, the jail was an eyesore—weeds, chain link, razor wire, and vandalism—and depressed adjacent properties, inhibiting surrounding development. It is now a positive contributor to the built fabric with twenty-three units of housing, a popular restaurant, and an active, landscaped site.

The project knitted together and enhanced various aspects of the site— history and culture, built and natural environment, economic and social stability—to contribute to the City’s interest in being a livable community. There has been a great deal of interest in the success of this project from the community and municipal leaders. The fact the project was completed with a high level of quality and has reached market success in a very challenging economic environment speaks to the team effort and spirit of cooperation between the City and the development and design team.

Additional Credits

  • Civil Engineer: HW Moore
  • Geotechnical Engineer: McPhail
  • Interior Design: Duffy Design
  • Landscape Architect: Gray Architects
  • MEP Engineer: BLW
  • Structural Engineer: Weidlinger Associates
  • Survey: Hancock Associates
  • Historic Consultant: Epsilon Associates
  • Photo Credit: © Neil Alexander Photography

50 Saint Peter Street/ Historic Salem Jail

Jury Comments

This is a fabulous, tasteful adaptive reuse.

There is such a strength in this conversion- through the beautiful historic adaptation, the building's purpose has also transformed from negative to positive!

2011 AIA Housing Awards Jury

  • Katherine Austin, AIA, Chair
  • Katherine Austin Architect
  • Sebastopol, Calif.
  • Claire Conroy
  • Residential Architecture Magazine
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Mike Jackson, FAIA
  • Historical Preservation Agency
  • State of Illinois
  • Springfield, Ill.
  • Luis Jauregui, AIA
  • Jaurequi, Inc.
  • Austin, Tex.
  • Marilys Nepomechie, FAIA
  • Florida International University Miami
  • Coconut Grove, Fla.

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