Restoration, preservation, adaptive reuse, reconstruction and addition, all share the same limitations inherent to working within existing structures, originally intended for another purpose and frequently landmarked. We are all familiar with these constraints, but how do we deal with them when they are compounded by the added complexities typically encountered when the client is an academic institution?

Academic institutions, present many additional requirements: their facilities are typically part of their image so finding temporary alternative accommodations is rarely an option, buildings frequently need to remain partially functioning during construction. The construction schedule is likely limited to the 10 weeks of summer vacation and the delivery date is always determined by the beginning of the academic year. Furthermore, budgets are tight; programmatic needs usually exceed the facility’s potential and phased master plans often need to be modified.

Four very different case studies of academic projects in existing historic buildings will be reviewed during the evening: Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB)’s presentation will focus on renewing two House Renewal complexes at Harvard University: the Winthrop House and the Adams House. FXCollaborative will present the renovation of Pace University’s two flagships buildings in Lower Manhattan. TRA studio will review the renovation of the New York Academy of Art’s building in Tribeca.

The discussion following the presentations will highlight the similarities between all of them and offer insights into the difficult but very rewarding process of designing for an institution and seeing it evolve in parallel with the evolution of their own facilities.

An informal discussion, moderated by John Arbuckle, followed by questions from audience will conclude the evening.