Tuesday, April 23, 2024

From Lesley University, Jan. 17, 2017: The energy-efficient and environmentally friendly Lunder Arts Center at Lesley University was awarded a LEED Gold certification recently from the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. 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., 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 historic, circa-1845 North Prospect Church. The building and historic church structure are connected by a dramatic glass atrium, which affords additional display space and a modern concourse for educational and social gatherings.

“The LEED Gold certification is an important and highly valued element of Lesley University’s celebration of 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 an environmentally responsible fashion.”

The arts center is named for Lesley Class of 1959 alumna Paula Lunder and her husband, Peter, major donors for the project, which relocated the art school from Boston’s Kenmore Square. Bruner/Cott & Associates of Cambridge designed the arts center, and John Moriarty & Associates of Winchester was the general contractor.

The complex features exhibition spaces that invite the public in while enlivening the streetscape of Porter Square.

“The Lunder Arts Center demonstrates the transformative power of the arts and explores new ways of combining historic and sustainable contemporary architecture,” said Bruner/Cott principal Jason Forney. “Moving and repurposing the 1845 church was central to our strategy for achieving LEED Gold, as was the focus on air quality for the artist-users and a 40 percent reduction in energy and water usage. Additionally, we were able to leverage the smart-growth strategies available in Porter Square, one of Cambridge’s major urban nodes.”