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BU law tower awarded for preservation achievement

Boston University’s law tower was recently awarded a 2016 Preservation Achievement Award by the Boston Preservation Alliance. PHOTO BY BRIAN SONG/ DFP FILE PHOTO
Boston University’s law tower was recently awarded a 2016 Preservation Achievement Award by the Boston Preservation Alliance. PHOTO BY BRIAN SONG/ DFP FILE PHOTO

The Boston University law tower is expected to receive a 2016 Preservation Achievement Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance on Oct. 24, according to the Alliance’s website.

Boston Preservation Alliance Executive Director Greg Galer said the law tower project received this award because it was able to preserve a mid-century building into one that is more modern and usable.

“One of the reasons we chose this project is because it deals with a type of a building that is difficult and challenging for the preservation community, which are these mid-century modern buildings,” he said. “We really see this project as one that demonstrates that this can be done successfully and that it can be done where it makes sense.”

This year, the Alliance is awarding 12 buildings and sites for the same honor, including the Massachusetts State House Executive Office on Beacon Hill, the Lovejoy Wharf in the North End and the Verb Hotel in Fenway, according to the Alliance’s website.

Galer said the Alliance have been giving out these awards to a variety of structures in the Boston area for the past 25 years.

“We really try to promote the fact that preservation is not what people think it is,” he said. “It’s not just Beacon Hill or the Freedom Trail sites, but a wide diversity of historic aspects and the character of Boston.”

Gary Nicksa, BU’s senior vice president of operations, said the university was excited to receive such an award.

“The opportunity to do something that really served both the School of Law and preserved an important piece of architecture is a great combination of events that led to us getting the award,” Nicksa said. “We were able to acknowledge something that is from the 50s and 60s, when a lot of brutalist designs were done, and find a very practical approach for revitalizing it.”

The goal of the law tower project was to make the old building more accommodating for current and future students and faculty, Nicksa said.

“The building didn’t really work that well because it was designed in a time when the standards were very different,” Nicksa said. “Now it’s an energy-efficient, well-lit, acoustically well designed space for the faculty and for students.”

Nicksa said a challenge of the law tower project was renovating the building while accommodating the schedules of faculty and students.

“It’s always disruptive when we do new construction, and the challenge is to minimize the disruption,” he said. “The project team did a fantastic job planning on how to reduce the impact, right down to knowing when exactly exams were scheduled.”

Several students said the law tower is an important resource on campus and a perfect place to study — Kara McCormick, a first-year graduate student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, said she often studies in the law tower because it’s the “nicest building” on campus.

“I go to the library sometimes,” she said. “But we have to do a lot of interactive stuff for our major, and we have to go outside because it’s really quiet in the library.”

Christine Fang, a junior in the Questrom School of Business, said the law tower’s modern interior makes the building more appealing to her than other spots on campus.

“I like studying in the law tower because it’s quiet, spacious, the interior decoration is nice and the lighting is very bright,” she said. “I prefer the law tower to the library because it’s more comfortable, and there are not as many people.”

Natalie Stamatiadis, a junior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said she prefers going to the School of Law’s reading room when she needs to hit the books.

“I go there all the time,” she said. “I go to the reading room, and it’s really nice. There’s light. It’s cleaner. It’s nicer and it’s quieter.”

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