You are here

Cambridge Water Purification Facility

-A A +A
2001, Barry Giorgi and Camp, and Dresser and McKee. 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy.

Ten years in planning, this facility reconceptualized waterworks as community center. Camp, Dresser and McKee—a global corporation begun in 1947 as a partnership of MIT sanitation engineers Thomas Camp, Herman Dresser, and Jack McKee—undertook the project from design through construction. Site studies led to demolition and replacement of the former facilities, a Neo-Georgian 1915 structure by George A. Johnson and a 1922 pump house. Recognizing Fresh Pond as a recreational asset, architect Barry Giorgi's design welcomes the public with Romanesque Revival styling and multiple materials (cast stone, granite, brick, and slate). It displays the awesome water process systems through large arched windows. Besides administrative offices and maintenance facilities, the building offers public restrooms, a park ranger, and an ongoing education program. In the lobby, Drawn Water (2001), an art installation by Mags Harries and Lajos Héder, includes a fountain, its water flowing under the entrance portal from the previous water filtration plant (1922, George A. Johnson); a terrazzo and bronze floor map of the Cambridge water system; and a fourteen-foot Plexiglas water column, all stronger in iconography than in design.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Cambridge Water Purification Facility", [Cambridge, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 358-358.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.