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Reimagining Boston through Architecture
Rebecca L. Berry, AIA, and the team at Finegold Alexander Architects keep Boston’s history alive through inspiring renovation, adaptive use, and sustainable designs.
Since 1962, anyone who has walked through Boston has seen the work of Finegold Alexander Architects, the award-winning team behind projects as diverse as the restoration of the Boch Center at the Wang Theater, Boston’s iconic City Hall, the Boulevard on the Greenway, and the Eliot Innovation School in the North End. Today, Finegold Alexander Architects is known for converting existing buildings that possess varying historical qualities into entirely new spaces. The resulting architectural solutions not only solve clients’ complex problems, but they also take flight.
Other times, the team restores existing buildings while making few noticeable changes. “For the restoration of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, we are working on repairs including masonry restoration and replacing roof tiles,” fellow Principal Regan Shields Ives, AIA, says. “But when we finish the project, people may not realize anything has changed—including an entirely new lighting system. In this case, that’s the goal—to make the building beautiful and comply with modern safety codes, all without leaving a trace.”
Sustainability is at the heart of every Finegold Alexander Architects project. “Our work with existing buildings is an inherently sustainable process both historically and environmentally,” Berry explains. “From a community standpoint, we’re preserving the heritage of the city for future generations by reviving historic sites.
“Environmentally, it’s important to realize that all the materials in an existing building had to be extracted from the earth, processed, and made into what they are now. Large amounts
of energy are already captured within the original structure,” Berry continues.
In addition to conserving energy by repurposing existing structures, the team creates new
buildings with high environmental standards, such as the project fellow Principal Jeffrey Garriga, AIA, did for the Lowell Justice Center, which is on track for LEED Platinum certification in Lowell, Massachusetts. The 240,000-square-foot building will use less than half the operating energy of a typical courthouse.