Lesley University, Lunder Arts Center

Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Lunder Arts Center at Lesley University is the new heart of the College of Art and Design. A center for art teaching and making, the campus is a crossroads for academic, artistic and neighborhood communities. The terra-cotta and glass design foregrounds the site’s important historic church, initiating a dialog between 19th-century religious and 21st-century ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY950COST PER SQ FT$459.00CITATIONLouis I. Kahn CitationFEATURED IN2015 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYAdaptive Reuse icons. An art gallery in the new glass building and a library in the historic church anchor the building at either end; both are open to the public.

The complex is a transition from Porter Square’s large-scale industrial buildings to the smaller, finer-scaled residences and stores along the avenue. The scale and detail of the historic church inform the new building; terra cotta reflects back neighboring brick and clapboard. A glass entry links the church and the new building. Respecting the 19th-century building, leaving it intact and connecting it with the Arts Center, the entry activates the shared space between the two structures—a dynamic window into the arts community at Lesley.

Registered for LEED Gold, the complex exceeds Cambridge’s strict new Stretch Energy Code. Building orientation, exterior envelope design, and efficient heat exchange and mechanical systems were priorities.