Harvard District Energy Facility Receives WAF Highly Commended 2022
Best Use of Colour Prize

This District Energy Facility embodies a state-of-the-art, sustainable utility generation system for Harvard University’s expanding Allston campus providing reliable heating, cooling, and electricity for the campus. Occupying a former railyard, the DEF will soon be surrounded by science/engineering related development, and midrise residences. Technology is put on display day and evening by lighting the vibrant color-coded equipment and spaces from within. Exterior aluminum fins form a wrapper around the building’s cubic shape, these are gently top lit to maintain the bold form. A large cylindrical exterior tank is also gently lit, with pre-set color options for celebrating community events.

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Woodland Wonders Nature Preschool wins Gold award in the World Architecture News Awards

Woodland Wonders Nature Preschool wins Gold award in the WAN Award in Future Projects – Education.

Nestled within the 120-acre tract of the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, the new preschool facility promotes wonder and exploration of the natural world and cultivates a sense of stewardship toward our community and environment. 

Imagined as an extension of the network of trails throughout the preserve, the preschool is organized along a central “learning trail” spine.  Light-filled classroom spaces alternate with a series of open and covered porches that open out into the natural woodlands beyond. 


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Harvard District Energy Facility Finalist for World Architecture News Awards

Harvard District Energy Facility was a Finalist in the 2022 World Architecture News Awards in the Urban Landscape category.

The new 56,000 sf District Energy Facility (DEF) sets the stage for a state-of-the-art, cost effective, and sustainable utility generation and distribution system for Harvard’s Allston campus that also makes a significant contribution to its urban design.


The DEF’s site, at a pivotal location in the development area south of Western Avenue, makes the facility a highly visible presence from all sides. As a permanent support facility, its building and site design complements future campus evolution, including open space, academic buildings, and research and development spaces.


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Harvard District Energy Facility Runner-up in ACD Rethinking The Future Awards 2022

Harvard District Energy Facility awarded Runner-up in the Institutional (Built) Category for the ACD Rethinking the Future Awards, 2022.


“Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.” – RTF


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Harvard University District Energy Facility, Winner for the American Architecture Award in Chicago 2022

Winifred Ann Stopps one of our Associate Principal accepted the American Architecture Award in Chicago for Harvard University District Energy Facility. Harvard University District Energy Facility is one of the first new buildings to be completed on the Allston campus, therefore carrying the responsibility of setting a high standard of quality and design as well as of creating a visible demonstration of sustainable practice in building, landscape, and stormwater management. Occupying a previously deserted railyard, the project introduces native vegetation and water management to activate the area’s biodiversity and minimize stormwater runoff.

“The American Architectural Awards® give an important overview of the current aesthetic direction of today’s commercial, corporate, institutional, and residential work in the United States to the real estate, banking, business, and corporate community, as well as to the press and general public.

 The program is one of the Museum’s most important public education outreach initiatives produced throughout the year―to both the Museum’s U.S. and international audience. The American Architecture Awards are dedicated to the recognition of excellence in architecture and urbanism in the United States.”

-The Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture

Learn more about the project here

Ashley Rao Presents at AIA Philadelphia Committee On The Environment Meeting

Associate Principal Ashley Rao, AIA LEED AP CPHC  presented on Mass Timber in Practice at the AIA Philadelphia COTE meeting.

“Ashley Rao will present case studies from Leers Weinzapfel Associates’ award-winning mass timber projects – the John W. Olver Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Arkansas Stadium Drive Residence Halls. These projects explore innovative uses of wood in building design, focusing on mass timber and cross-laminated timber (CLT), and embody the aesthetic, environmental, and structural strengths of wood as a building material.” – AIA Philadelphia COTE


Learn more about John W Olver Design Building here

Learn more about Adohi Hall here

Kevin Bell Presents at Architectural Record Glass and Glazing Academy

Associate Principal Kevin Bell speaks on the firm’s Anonymous Hall project at Dartmouth College.


The project reuses and adds to a vacant 1960s library in the heart of the medical school quad, transforming it into a vibrant administrative and social center for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a communal hub for the north campus. Part of a wider campus renewal plan, metrics show the project is close to net zero energy use.

The building was stripped to its columns and slabs to remove hazardous materials in the existing library walls before construction could begin. As a reused concrete structure in a cold climate, the choices of highly insulated terra-cotta-clad walls, triple glazed windows, and a photovoltaic canopy created a building with low embodied energy that approaches net zero energy usage. The facade system is first-of-its-kind in the US, comprising multiple advanced technologies including vacuum insulated, panels, krypton filled triple glazing, metal mesh integral shading, and toggle-held structural glazing (2″ IGUs).

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BSA Profile Features Zhanina Boyadzhieva, AIA
Associate at Leers Weinzapfel Associates

Boston Society for Architecture did a profile on Associate Zhanina Boyadzhieva, AIA Associate at Leers Weinzapfel Associates, showcasing her journey through architecture.

“I was interested in the arts from an early age, and would often put an artistic spin on my homework assignments, such as when I embellished my 8th grade essay with a paper model to frame it. Math came easily to me; my father is a math professor. In Bulgaria, where I come from, students typically choose their career path before applying to universities. I was in 10th grade when I figured that architecture could be an interesting mixture of both art and math.”

-Zhanina Boyadzhieva

See BSA Profile here

Growing Our Leadership

We are delighted to look toward the future in this post-pandemic era, and to expand our leadership group to meet new challenges.  Please join us in welcoming three new Associate Principals – Ashley Rao, Kevin Bell, and Katia Lucic- who will continue our commitment to architecture and urban design of the highest quality to enrich human experience and strengthen our social fabric.

Ashley Rao, AIA, LEED AP, CPHC
A firm leader with a collaborative design sensibility and exceptional communication skills, Ashley is equally able to articulate design concepts and to engage challenging construction issues.
Kevin Bell, AIA
Kevin leads the firm’s technology integration process, guiding the studio’s digital direction.
Katia Lucic, AIA LEED AP

With broad experience in campus and site planning as well as architecture and interior design, Katia brings a comprehensive view to each of her projects.

Learn more here