Preservation Month: Nancy Goodwin & Harvard University’s Radcliffe Quadrangle

We celebrate the legacy of former Principal Nancy Goodwin by highlighting an iconic preservation project of hers

May 25, 2022
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For many at the firm, if you ask them to think of preservation leaders, a common name you will hear in response will be Nancy Goodwin. As a Principal at Finegold Alexander Architects, Nancy Goodwin undoubtedly made her impact in the New England preservation community through her leadership in numerous projects, including several at Harvard University, Eliot Innovation School, and the Alice K. Wolf Center, just to name a few. As we begin to wind down on Preservation Month, we knew we couldn’t let it slip by without celebrating Nancy’s legacy and spotlighting one of her favorite projects, Harvard University’s Radcliffe Quadrangle.

The 350,000 SF project, completed over a four-year construction period to minimize disruption to the academic year, included the consolidation of 10 individual buildings into two “houses” of 350 students each, the creation of two dining halls, a central kitchen, house entries, courtyards, the addition of 90 bedrooms and reconfiguring existing double-loaded corridors into suites.

Spearheading the project, Nancy led the team in the development of a design that preserved and optimized existing building features, while renovating and adapting interior spaces to suit the needs of current University students. Nancy’s devotion to preserving the historic fabric, and working within the constraints of existing buildings made her a capable team leader, resulting in a highly desirable student-living space that was chosen as the number 1 desired option in the student housing lottery.

The challenge was to unify Pforzheimer and Cabot Houses internally and externally, spatially and functionally, providing each house with the public space and gracious suite living that contributes so much to Harvard’s residential life.

Close collaborator with Nancy on this, and many other projects, Principal and Director of Design Tony Hsiao, AIA, LEED AP reflects on his time with Nancy and the impact she had on him and the firm.

“I had the pleasure of working with Nancy Goodwin over many years at Finegold Alexander Architects. What I remember about Nancy, is her remarkable commitment to her professional work and the people she worked with. She was always the first to acknowledge everyone’s contributions, and sometimes even being self-effacing to allow others to share in the limelight. She was always very thoughtful and gracious and really was a role model when it came to the word collaboration. Nancy was involved and led many of our most significant projects such as the Harvard Radcliffe quad, and her ability to listen to not only the client but the buildings themselves made Nancy an exemplary leader and colleague throughout her illustrious career.”
- Tony Hsiao, AIA, LEED AP Principal & Director of Design

Today, and nearly every day of this special month, we reflect on Nancy’s life-long legacy in the world of preservation and are inspired by her portfolio of projects that exhibited some of the best examples of innovation and historic protection Finegold Alexander has offered. Thank you, Nancy and a happy Preservation Month to all!