Making Connections

Leers Weinzapfel Associates is dedicated to architecture that fosters connections - people to place; building to landscape, setting, and infrastructure; past to future. The firm’s work is clear in concept, refined in detail, and innovative in material and systems exploration. We embrace alliances, uniting with our clients, partner designers, engineers, and the community in a dynamic design process that produces a tailor-made project vision.

Connecting

Leers Weinzapfel Associates values open exchange in the design process among its many partners. Within our studio, we ensure that multiple voices are heard, through frequent team meetings and “design lunches” to discuss ongoing projects. We connect with our clients similarly, both listening carefully and leading creatively. We seek to mutually understand each other’s objectives and interests. The process begins with spending time together to learn our clients’ goals and values. We listen closely to their functional and aspirational needs and observe how they currently operate. We investigate their project site and its broader territory to understand the history of its evolution and present condition. Often, we suggest visiting similar facilities together to share observations about what works and what doesn’t.

Because people process information in different ways, we present ideas using various modes and media during the design process, including three-dimensional physical and digital models at a range of scales from site to detail, as well as digital animations to explore the experience of spaces. Our goal is to achieve a custom-crafted design response that brings together program and place, delivering inspiration and delight to the community. For seamless technical integration we connect with our partners in engineering and landscape design to provide inspiration and challenge to each other. We work together in face-to-face and digital meetings, and use new technologies and sustainable principles to explore precise results that benefit our clients and the environment.

Studio

Our working environment reflects our values of inclusiveness and teamwork. The open studio layout houses staff as well as firm leaders in a non-hierarchical workspace. A third of the space is used for team meetings adjacent to a pin-up wall, and our kitchen/lunch counter is one of the busiest spots in the office.We frequently visit nearby architectural masterworks as well as new buildings under construction. We know that seeing and learning together develops shared values that deliver signature clarity for our clients.

History

Our Boston-based practice, founded in 1982, has had two fundamental goals since its inception: to create bold and refined architecture for the public realm and to create a collaborative workplace inclusive of the diverse voices and talents of our colleagues. From the beginning, our work has been intentionally public in nature and attitude, often embedded in the urban fabric. We are committed to providing meaningful spaces for human interaction and to promoting social well-being. Our first designs were for infrastructure—a building suspended under a bridge in Boston and an airfield maintenance building - which led to more significant projects such as the University of Pennsylvania Gateway Chiller Plant. Our public building projects began with small community recreation buildings and neighborhood police stations, and expanded to important civic buildings including state and federal courthouses. Our initial renovation projects for universities led to major campus buildings and master planning.

Today, we are a diverse team of 30 from the U.S., Central America, Europe, and Asia. Our work lies at the intersection of architecture, urban design, and infrastructure. Our projects are embedded in cities, on campuses, and across the wider landscape. Inventiveness in dramatically complex projects and a diversity of project types are the signatures of our work. While we remain committed to building in the Boston area and contributing to our community, our work now extends across the country and the world, most recently through projects in France and Taiwan. We are pleased by the accolades our work has produced over the years. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects honored us with its Firm Award, the highest distinction it bestows on an architecture firm, and the first and only women-owned firm to be so honored. In 2014, our firm was included in the ARCHITECT Top 50 national rankings in the Design and Sustainability categories. Recognized with over 85 national and regional awards, our work has also been widely published, appearing in publications in the U.S. and abroad, as well as in exhibitions nationwide. Our 2011 monograph, Made to Measure: The Architecture of Leers Weinzapfel Associates (Princeton Architectural Press), records the first chapter of our work.

Making

We have always been passionate about the art of building. We delight in creating buildings that engage the spirit and senses, creating beauty through the manipulation of light, material, and detail. Our practice simultaneously explores traditional craft and technique as well as the latest technologies for materials and their assembly. For each project, we research new products and fresh applications for old materials. We physically model assemblies at full scale, and we digitally model daylight effects for different configurations of space and enclosure. Our fundamental goal is to enhance the human experience.