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Scott Aquilina, AIA


Scott’s Italian grandfather came to Western New York to pick apples, became a successful grocer, and sent three sons to medical school. A daughter attained a graduate degree in nursing. Hard work is definitely part of Scott’s DNA, but his passion for architecture arose from his childhood environment.

Scott grew up in Buffalo under a canopy of elms a stone’s throw from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House. His daily crosstown commute to school took him through an Olmsted park and past the city’s art and history museums and elegant white monuments from the Pan American Exposition of 1901.

By the 1970s, the elms were dying off and the Darwin Martin House lay in partial ruins. Scott traces his interest in historic preservation to this time. As a senior at the Nichols School, he prepared his first feasibility study: an adaptive reuse plan for H.H. Richardson’s abandoned hospital campus, a project he would pursue professionally 30 years later.

Today, as a principal with Bruner/Cott, what gets Scott up and out each morning–besides the joy of working with talented colleagues–is the opportunity to engage clients in designing and implementing projects which honor the heritage and craftsmanship of the past while maximizing resources in support of contemporary programs and long-term sustainable growth.

Scott’s portfolio focuses on arts, education, and cultural clients and includes the renovation and expansion of the Albany Institute of History of Art and the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire. As a senior associate with Ann Beha Architects, Scott oversaw a decade of renovations and facility upgrades at Boston Symphony Hall, including new building systems and performance technology, an accessible lobby and box office, and the 2007 reconstruction of the historic stage. Also with Ann Beha Architects, he has modernized both academic and performing arts buildings at Princeton, Wellesley and Williams, and in 2014 his team completed a new academic center for Cornell’s Law School, the first certified LEED Platinum building on the Ithaca campus. From 2013 to 2015, Scott was the senior project manager for the new Student Life and Performance Center at the New England Conservatory of Music, a $70 million project which is currently under construction with Gensler as the Architect of Record and Ann Beha Architects as the Design Architect. Scott is currently the principle-in-charge for the design of the new Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine and is leading a feasibility study for a New Performing Arts Center on behalf of the City of Nashua, New Hampshire. His projects have been recognized for design excellence from national and state chapters of the AIA and the Society for College and University Planning.

Scott lives along the Boston Marathon route in Newton, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children. As a life-long member of Grace Episcopal Church, he is dedicated to the stewardship of the 1873 Victorian landmark. His joy lies in heading up the church’s Acolyte Program, which provides kids and teenagers opportunities for leadership and growth within the community. On summer evenings, Scott can be found bass fishing with son Patrick from their inflatable two-man canoe.