NEREJ Company of the Month
Finegold Alexander Architects: Transforming the built environment through new leadership
May 18, 2018 – Construction Design & Engineering
Boston, MA For over 50 years, Finegold Alexander Architects has been transforming the built environment of Boston, New England and beyond. We are recognized for our ability to convert existing buildings possessing various historical qualities; infusing them with new programs, technologies and community spirit for the next century.
It has been a transformational year for the firm as well. Under the new leadership of Rebecca Berry, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, president, AIA; Ellen Anselone, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, vice president; Regan Shields Ives, AIA, LEED AP, secretary; and Jeffrey Garriga, AIA, LEED AP, treasurer – we have been certified as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts grants the designation of WBE to businesses that demonstrate majority women ownership and control of daily management and operations.
“Finegold Alexander has long been supportive of equity and diversity – for example, over 50% of our current employees are women. The firm seeks out talented designers and architects from a range of educational institutions and backgrounds. We believe that design talent comes in many different packages and that the importance of diverse voices in the conversation cannot be overstated. The firm works hard to mentor and provide pathways for leadership for all employees,” said Shields Ives who oversees hiring and the in-house mentorship program.
The leadership team has also been awarded the prestigious 2018 Tsongas Award for The Next Generation leaders in preservation. Since 1988, the Paul & Niki Tsongas Award has recognized the very best in historic preservation efforts, individuals and achievements across the Commonwealth. It is the highest honor that Preservation Massachusetts awards people, projects and places, and demonstrate the highest level of commitment to historic preservation in the Commonwealth. The combination of these two distinctions underscores the strength and vision of the new leadership of Finegold Alexander.
Together with the support of the entire firm, including Tony Hsiao, AIA, director of design, senior associate, Christopher Lane, AIA and associates Clair Colburn, AIA and Aaron Udy, AIA the four principals’ mission is to continue the firm’s legacy of preserving and adapting existing and historic buildings through design, while contributing to the growth and vitality of communities and neighborhoods across the Commonwealth and the country. “Achieving WBE certification and being recognized by Preservation Massachusetts with the Tsongas award for The Next Generation leaders in preservation are two great honors for the leadership team,” said Berry. “This recognition marks a turning point and is an indication that the architectural profession is evolving towards a more equitable and inclusive profession for future generations to come. This truly is the beginning of an exciting new era for the firm.”
Recent projects of Finegold Alexander Architects include the Executive Offices of the Governor. The offices are housed in the 1700s era Bulfinch portion of the Massachusetts State House. These spaces are considered Level 1 historical significance by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior – representing some of the most important places in the history of the country and requiring an extremely careful approach to architecture and finish. This fast track, off- hours public bid project was overseen by Garriga. These spaces, now beautifully restored, provide for the preservation of an important cultural resource. This is the type of project which Finegold Alexander seeks out and at which we excel.
The 33-unit luxury condominium LUCAS, an historic preservation and re-use of the former German Trinity Church in Boston’s South End was recently featured in Architectural Record. The innovative vertical extension of the building creates a dramatic new neighborhood presence while preserving a treasured landmark’s iconic stone architecture. “Finegold Alexander has always creatively pushed preservation forward. Our philosophy is to deliberately distinguish new interventions from the historic fabric – allowing the architecture to speak,” said Ellen Anselone, principal for the project.
Historic projects of the firm include Ellis Island, the Boston Opera House and Harvard Business School’s Baker Library.
Finegold Alexander Architects’ principals share a common passion for existing and historic buildings through personal experiences growing up, education, and experiences within the firm. They see the future of preservation in sustainable design, adaptive use, and placemaking for supporting neighborhoods and communities. The new leadership will keep pushing the envelope to make existing buildings as green as possible, preserving our heritage and our planet for future generations. “All of us believe that the heart of preservation work is sustainability – the greenest building is one that already exists,” said Garriga.
In addition to adaptive use and preservation projects, Finegold Alexander works on major new construction projects such as the Lowell Justice Center. This project – currently under construction and slated for completion in late 2019 – was part of a series of pilot studies for Net Zero Energy (NZE) with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Due to severe site constraints the project, while not achieving NZE, is targeting LEED Platinum certification. This has been an intense challenge due to building use patterns and scale.
The firm continues to win new work across our various markets from higher education, public schools and libraries, to multi-family and mixed-use developments and religious institutions. In all our work we strive to not just listen to our clients, but to really hear them and ask the important questions, not just parrot back what we have heard. We seek to help our clients fulfill their missions by building trust and delivering a facility that not only makes a difference now, but for decades to come.
Our projects are being recognized with awards, achievements in LEED certification, and in the creation of places that serve communities. Recent awards include recognition of the UMass Amherst Old Chapel by the Victorian Society in America, the Massachusetts Historic Commission, Engineering News Record, and the Society for College and University Planning; The Godfrey Hotel and Cable Mills were recognized by Preservation Massachusetts’ Tsongas Awards over the past two years.
Senior principals, Jim Alexander, FAIA and Moe Finegold, FAIA, nationally recognized for their work, have been instrumental in mentoring the next leadership generation. Building on the legacy of the firm, the principals see a bright future as the next chapter in the history of Finegold Alexander unfolds.
Full article here.