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Lunder Arts Center

Lunder Arts Center

Nestled in Cambridge’s Porter Square, the LEED certified Lunder Arts Center is the heart of the College of Art and Design at Lesley University. Every aspect, from the exterior materials palette to the dramatic glass-enclosed entry at the core of the complex, was conceived to embrace and inspire the vibrant artistic community it serves.

Lesley University
Cambridge, MA
Completed: 2015 74,000 sf LEED Gold Certified
Photography by © Richard Mandelkorn Photography, © Robert Benson Photography

As part of the newly formed Porter Square Arts District, the Lunder Arts Center beautifully blends the community’s long history of artistic expression with Lesley’s contemporary approach to education. From state-of-the-art-studios and classrooms to dedicated collaborative areas, this is a dynamic space that’s designed to foster conversation, creativity and community engagement.

Incorporating the historic North Prospect Congregational Church was a crucial part of our design process. Relocating the church to its original location was an exciting opportunity to bridge 19th-century ecclesial traditions with 21st-century architecture. The renovated church is accompanied by an adjacent new structure that compliments its iconic architecture and draws inspiration from 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.

From the street, an active urban plaza leads to a dramatic glass-enclosed entry connecting the two buildings, juxtaposing the past and the present and representing the interdisciplinary dialogue between the traditional studio arts and new media. This space invites the Lesley community and Cambridge residents to gather, display art, host events and more.

The center was also designed with a focus on sustainability achieving LEED Gold certification. The complex maintains a healthy indoor environment for student artists with the use of energy efficient ventilation systems and is modeled to use 40% less energy than required by code.


  • 2006 Invited Design Competition, Winner
  • 2015 College Planning & Management, Educational Design Award
  • 2015 Cambridge Historical Commission Preservation Award
  • 2015 AS&U Louis I. Kahn Award
  • 2016 Architizer, A+ Award, Special Mention, Architecture+Preservation
  • 2017 Preservation MA, Paul & Niki Tsongas Preservation Award, Most Innovative
  • 2019 BSA Education Facilities Design Award