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007 Commercial Street

Solving a structural and aesthetic challenge, Bannon Custom Builders renovates a historic building in Provincetown from the ground up.

In one of the most significant pop cultural events of the 21st century, Daniel Craig made his debut as the new face of James Bond in Casino Royale. The 2006 film reinvigorated the venerable franchise by combining modern action sequences, a new degree of grittiness, and cutting edge special effects to help propel the hero through a story rich in the drama and intrigue that audiences had long yearned for. Set in locations such as Montenegro, the Bahamas, and Venice, the plot crisscrossed the globe as viewers would expect, but the film’s impact pushed beyond the confines of its genre and drew the attention of “serious” critics; some lifelong fans even argued that Craig had, in just one movie, supplanted Sean Connery as the definitive Bond. The aggregating review site Rotten Tomatoes certifies Casino Royale “fresh” with a 95% approval rating and states in its “critics consensus” that “Daniel Craig delivers what fans have been waiting for: a caustic, haunted, intense reinvention of 007.” In a Hollywood era of remakes and reruns, most of which fall flat, the new Bond represented hope, not just for the future of the brand, but for the future of blockbuster filmmaking. It restored faith in one of the pillars of pop culture and helped construct a foundation for a new generation of movies. To further the building metaphor, it completely gutted and renovated a classic fixture that had languished for years in neglect. 

While one could probably superimpose the “Casino Royale” effect onto any type of project, the restoration of one Provincetown property, known as the Hofmann House on Commercial Street, actually fits the comparison in a number of key ways. Most obviously, like the film franchise, the rebuilt home is both more structurally sound and far more contemporary, whilst retaining the charm and general appearance of the original. The Hofmann House and the Bond brand both sport their familiar tuxedos, as it were, while updating the timeless design for today. One similarity begins in the basement. An ironic twist to this new Bond bedrock is that one of the film’s most enduring scenes involves a house that collapses because it lacks proper footing. More specifically, Agent 007 causes a palazzo to crumble into the Grand Canal of Venice by shooting the massive flotation piers that serve as the building’s temporary foundation. As the giant balloons explode, water appears to rush upward, flooding the historical home. The exterior shots, a blend of models and CGI, reveal in realistic detail what happens when a structure fails from below. Although no canal runs through Commercial Street, the foundation of Hofmann House was in dire need of support when New York businessman Fadi Hanna purchased the property in 2015. “It was just a perimeter wall made of two sets of bricks, and the inside section had already collapsed in areas,” he says. “Eventually, the house would have suffered some kind of catastrophic damage.” For these reasons—to avoid the same fate as that Venetian palazzo—renovation naturally began with a massive undertaking to shore up the base of the house.

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