NewsApr 13, 2017

Lunder Arts Center awarded for innovative design

Project of Bruner/Cott & Associates hailed ‘Most Innovative’ by Preservation Massachusetts

Lunder Arts Center under clouds

Our Lunder Arts Center, which was recently lauded for its energy-efficient and environmentally friendly design, has been recognized for its innovative adaptive reuse of the historic North Prospect Church.

The Lunder Arts Center, designed by Bruner/Cott & Associates (Cambridge), and built by John Moriarty & Associates of Winchester, is the winner of a 2017 Paul and Niki Tsongas Award for Most Innovative design. The award is presented by Preservation Massachusetts and celebrates “the power of preservation,” according to the organization.

The Tsongas Award follows our Lunder Arts Center’s recent LEED Gold certification from the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used third-party certifier of green buildings.

The Lunder Arts Center opened in 2015 at 1801 Massachusetts Ave. in Porter Square. The complex includes an eye-catching four-story terra cotta-and-glass building that houses art galleries and studio spaces for the university’s College of Art and Design. It is the largest capital project in the university’s history, and involved moving and renovating the circa-1845 North Prospect Church. The four-story building and the historic church structure are connected by a dramatic glass atrium, which affords additional display space and a modern concourse for educational and social gatherings.

“This honor from Preservation Massachusetts is a welcome and important recognition of Lesley University’s commitment to sustainability and respect for the history of our city, as reflected in our signature building, the Lunder Arts Center,” says Marylou Batt, vice president for administration. “We undertook this project to unite all of our campuses in Cambridge, reinforce Lesley’s central role as a nexus for the arts in the city, and demonstrate our commitment to delivering a state-of-the-art education in a beautiful, contemporary environment while paying homage to an important part of Cambridge’s past.”

The arts center is named for Lesley Class of 1959 alumna Paula Lunder and her husband, Peter, major donors for the project. The center houses several public galleries and an arts library, as well as classrooms, studios and offices for Lesley University’s College of Art and Design.

“Our design for the Lunder Arts Center demonstrates the transformative power of the arts and explores new ways of combining historic and contemporary architecture,” says Bruner/Cott Principal Jason Forney. “Moving, repurposing and rejuvenating the 1845 North Prospect church was central to our goal of creating a vibrant hub for the arts in Porter Square, once again making the iconic structure feel like a place of prominence and importance in its community. Our firm has a long history of reimagining historic buildings for modern use, and recognition with a Tsongas Award for Most Innovative design is an appreciated confirmation of our design and preservation strategies.”