Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation

Christopher Williams Architects, LLC

85 Willow Street, Building 54
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
Phone: 203-776-0184
Fax: 203-773-3373
Web: visit →
Contact: Jon Schlesinger

Christopher Williams Architects, LLC (CW) is an award-winning design firm that offers full architectural services for new construction, renovation, restoration and interior architecture. For more than 25 years, CWA has delivered comprehensive renovations and upgrades to older and historic buildings-- building renewals and adaptations lie at the core of our practice. Our approach combines resesarch, technical expertise, design sensitivity and responsible project management; and we are consistently recognized for the design quality of our projects.

Recent projects: 

Yale University, Dana House

Constructed in 1849 by the prominent New Haven architect Henry Austin for Professor James Dwight Dana, this two-and-a-half story Italiante Villa style building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Engaged to address life-safety improvements to this registered landmark  home-turned-academic office space, CWA designed some life-quality improvements at the same time. By designed a new, open stairwell to replace the narrow, non-compliant stair to the attic CWA created a safe means of attic egress while flooding both the formerly dark attic and the second floor with an abundance of natural light. The gracious, open baluster wood stair physically and virtually unites the previously isolated student oriented attic with the faculty who occupy the second floor. This project was completed in 2008.

Yale University, Sterling Memorial Library International Room

Constructed in 1930.

CWA restored this 1,400 square foot library space back to its original elegance and splendor while adapting it to its new program as research space, exhibit room and lecture hall. Opened in 1930 an ddesigned by James Gamble Rogers, the building is considered a masterpiece of collegiate gothic style.

By 2010 though, the space, which originally served as a stately showcase and reading room had become underutilized, neglected and repeatedly altered over time. The hand crafted ornamental and decorative bookcases that line the walls were in disrepair and had long ago lost their luster; the original chandeliers that were suspended from the ornate plaster ceiling had been replaced with acrylic covered florescent lighting- various electrical/security/fire alarm devices were insensitively added to the walls and the celing and further contributed to the rooms degredation.

The original bookcases were retained, repaired, restored and converted into glass enclosed illuminated display cases. All the various electrical, security and fire alarm devices that were insensitively added were removed and/or replaced with modern systems. Unobtrusively integrated into the space, these systems included audio-visual equipment and automated window treatments. 

The original chandeliers were designed and handcrafted  by Samuel Yellin, one of America's foremost early 20th century artisan blacksmiths. Carefully researched, including consultation with his heirs and archives, new chandeliers were designed and fabricated with modern wiring and illumination. To study the size and proportion of the chandeliers in the space, full size mockups were made and put in place to ensure that their size, configuration, scale and elevation were correct. Furnishings included restored tables and chairs, as well as new leather-upholstered armchairs replicating the originals from 1928.

Through thoughtful, sensitive and artful design, the room has at once been brought back to its original grandeur while providing the lates in technology and media resources to students, researchers, and lecturers alike. This project received a 2014 AIA CT Honorable Mention Award in the Preservation Category.