Two Partners at The Architectural Team Receive Honors From Preservation Massachusetts, at 2013 Tsongas Awards

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Two partners with master planning and architecture firm The Architectural Team—Robert J. Verrier, FAIA, co-founding/managing principal, and Michael D. Binette, AIA, principal— received the 2013 Paul E. Tsongas Award from Preservation Massachusetts, for their award-winning work promoting and sustaining the preservation of historically significant buildings for more than 40 years.The awards program took place Wednesday, May 1, at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston.

Loft Five50

Loft Five50 at Malden Mills (Lawrence, MA) is a recent example of The Architectural Team's efforts in historic preservation and adaptive reuse, earning the firm's partners a 2013 Tsongas Award.

We believe in finding new life for these distinctive historic structures, worth preserving not only for their beauty and character, but also for their value as desirable, usable and inspired spaces.

Two partners—Robert J. Verrier, FAIA, co-founding/managing principal, and Michael D. Binette, AIA, principal—with the well-established master planning and architecture firm The Architectural Team received the 2013 Paul E. Tsongas Award this week from the nonprofit advocacy group Preservation Massachusetts. Selected for their award-winning work promoting and sustaining the preservation of historically significant buildings for more than 40 years, the firm’s principals devote a significant portion of the firm's efforts to preservation projects, making it a primary area of The Architectural Team's expertise and specialization.

With more than 150 historic preservation developments in their portfolio, Verrier and Binette earned a place among other prestigious development firms, notable architecture firms, legal teams and construction companies being honored this year for contributions to safeguarding the unique character of landmark buildings throughout Massachusetts.

The high-profile awards program, named after the late Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas, took place Wednesday, May 1, at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. This year's awards marked the beginning of a three-year thematic program honoring "the people behind the scenes, who truly make historic preservation projects happen," according to Jim Igoe, president of Preservation Massachusetts.

“We are extremely excited to recognize the work of these individuals and firms over the next three years" says Igoe. "The unwavering dedication, expertise and collaborative effort put into preserving our historic buildings is remarkable. Our intent is to pay tribute to the people that make preservation a reality here in Massachusetts and celebrate the many buildings that create the historic fabric of America.”

Preserving with a Purpose

Bringing more than four decades of experience to bear, The Architectural Team strives for more than mere preservation, adapting derelict structures such as abandoned mills, factories, hospitals and schools to new uses, creating catalysts in many cases for neighborhood rejuvenation and revitalization. Symbolic of local pride for the surrounding communities, these historic buildings undergo extensive adaptive construction and reprogramming, while retaining their architectural significance and character.

“We believe in finding new life for these distinctive historic structures," says Verrier. "The abandoned and long-shuttered buildings along our waterways, city streets and town centers are worth preserving not only for their beauty and character, but also for their value as desirable, usable and inspired spaces.”

The resulting innovative transformations restore the buildings and adjacent campuses to full utility as vibrant new multifamily, senior housing, assisted living, intergenerational community centers, and mixed-use properties. The preserved properties become central once again to the communities, and demonstrate the ways in which our past can shape our future.

Verrier continues, “We're honored that Preservation Massachusetts has selected us for this prestigious award, and we're proud to be in such great company. The success of our firm is founded on the many long-standing collaborative relationships we’ve developed over the years. These committed partnerships, along with the receptivity of local communities, make the creative transformation of historic properties possible."

Adaptive Reuse in Action

As a recent example, the firm's accomplishments include Malden Mills for long-time client WinnDevelopment, an early 20th-century industrial campus in Lawrence, MA, more recently home to Polartec® Fleece manufacturing, until a major fire forced the company to relocate in the mid-1990's. The Architectural Team's design solution included converting two surviving interconnected buildings into a stunning and sustainable mixed-income residential development.

Newly renamed Loft Five50, the converted Malden Mills combines high quality, affordable living with a culturally significant setting, and preserves the unique character of the brick mills that has become so integral to New England's heritage. Other award-winning preservation efforts by the firm include:

  •     Baker Chocolate Factory, in Dorchester Lower Mills, consisting of three phases over the past 27 years and including Baker Lofts and Watermill Lofts

(Keen Development; Beacon Development; WinnDevelopment)

  •     Rice Silk Mill, Pittsfield (Rees-Larkin Development)
  •     Linwood Mill, Northbridge (EA Fish Development)
  •     Franklin Square House, Boston (State Street Development, Preservation of Affordable Housing)
  •     Kenmore Abbey, Boston (State Street Development, Preservation of Affordable Housing)
  •     Apartments at Boott Mills, Lowell (WinnDevelopment)
  •     The Hayes at Railroad Square, Haverhill (Planning Office of Urban Affairs)
  •     Oliver Lofts, Roxbury. (WinnDevelopment)

"Preserving and converting these historic structures is not without its share of unique design challenges and financial hurdles," says Binette. "We strive to achieve the client's vision while preserving the architectural fabric that connects us to our common past. We have a team of extremely dedicated professionals that enable us to bring strategic and creative solutions to bear, empowering residents and enriching communities through thoughtful, pragmatic and innovative historic preservation initiatives." ###

PRESS CONTACT: For more information, photographs and interviews,
contact Chris Sullivan at 914.462.2096 or chris(at)ccsullivan(dot)com.

About The Architectural Team, Inc.
Founded in 1971, The Architectural Team, Inc. is a 70-person master planning and architectural firm that has grown through its commitment to design excellence and responsive, collaborative client relationships. The firm has developed a portfolio of distinctive design solutions for a broad range of building types and programs, and has earned more than 90 awards for design excellence. These include the new construction of large urban mixed-use developments, multifamily residential, senior housing, assisted living, commercial, hospitality, healthcare, recreational, and academic facilities, as well as a national reputation in the area of historic preservation and adaptive reuse. The firm is located in the restored 1840s-era Commandant’s House in Chelsea, Mass. Visit the firm’s website at http://www.architecturalteam.com.

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Christopher Sullivan
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