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Lunder Arts Center

Lesley University | Cambridge, MA

The LEED certified Lunder Arts Center is the new heart of the College of Art and Design at Lesley University. Nestled in the Porter Square neighborhood of Cambridge, the center offers state-of-the-art studios and classrooms in a dynamic setting that successfully merges nineteenth-century ecclesial traditions with 21st-century architecture.

The project required the relocation and careful renovation of the historic North Prospect Congregational Church and the design of an adjacent new structure that respects the iconic architecture of the church and reflects the industrial heritage of the city. The result is a terra cotta-clad studio wing informed by the massing, scale, and detail of the church, which was converted to house the art library, offices, and design studios. A new glass-enclosed common area recessed in the entry plaza serves as the main entrance and connects the two buildings, juxtaposing the past and the present and representing the interdisciplinary dialogue between the traditional studio arts and new media. A glass-walled art gallery anchors the new building and extends that dialogue to the street. The gallery and the library are both open to the public.

The connector and new wing emphasize transparency, and the extensive mechanical systems of the building are exposed. Achieving LEED Gold certification, the energy-efficient complex maintains a healthy indoor environment for student artists and is modeled to use 40 percent less energy than a building designed to the current energy code.


“This new building is a shining manifestation of Lesley University’s commitment to education and the arts. It will be at the heart of artistic life in the Porter Square area.” – Senator Elizabeth Warren

“Working with Bruner/Cott has been enlightening and rewarding. The innovative ideas, refined design sensibilities and practical considerations that Bruner/Cott brought to the table are most impressive.” –George Smith, Director of Operations and Campus Planning


2019 Boston Society of Architects | Education Facilities Design Award
2017 Preservation Massachusetts | Paul & Niki Tsongas Preservation Award- Most Innovative
2016 Architizer | A+ Award, Special Mention, Architecture + Preservation
2015 American School & University | Louis I. Kahn Award
2015 Cambridge Historical Commission | Preservation Award
2015 College Planning & Management | Educational Design Award
2006 Invited Design Competition – Winner

In the Press

Archinect, 10 Academic Architecture Projects in Boston We Liked This Month By Boston-based Architects
ArchDaily, Lunder Arts Center, Bruner/Cott & Associates
Architectural Record, Continuing Education: Relocating Buildings
Building Design + Construction, New Projects Portfolio
Spaces4Learning, Lesley University: Lunder Arts Center
Contract, Lunder Arts Center
High-Profile, Lunder Arts Center at Lesley University Completed – designed by Bruner/Cott
Masonry Design, Bruner/Cott’s Lunder Arts Center at Lesley University Completed
World Architecture News, Old and New Architecture Converge in Cambridge


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74,000 sf

COST (2015)

$34 million