What a Set of Pipes

A two-organ solution fulfills the acoustic demands of Harvard’s Memorial Church and Appleton Chapel

Harvard Memorial Church

Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Memorial Church, constructed in 1932 as a World War I memorial, is a non-denominational Protestant church that participates actively in the interfaith life of Harvard University. Over a span of 30 years, Finegold Alexander worked on five different projects at The Memorial Church. The most recent, and perhaps the most complex, focused on Appleton Chapel and the installation of replacement organs for the main church and the chapel. Associated work included replication of hand-carved pews; integration of accessibility; replication and replacement of the Palladian window; and refurbishment of historic light fixtures. The result is a complete restoration of Appleton Chapel as originally conceived.

(Photo credit: Blind Dog Photo Associates)

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36,000 SF
Historic Preservation, Renovation
Place of Worship
2011 National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association, Gates/Doors, Forged Award
2011 Preservation Massachusetts, Paul E. Tsongas Award
2015 Faith & Form, Religious Architecture Award
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"You and your work wear well …thanks for this most recent excellent work."
Peter J. Gomes, the late Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church

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Technology does have its limitations. Finegold Alexander’s project team used state-of-the-art laser cutters to reproduce decorative details at the wooden pew ends. However, sanding and finishing by hand were required to obtain a final product that’s almost indistinguishable from the original.

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“I have worked with Finegold Alexander since the early 1990s... They are intellectually nimble and always come through from the planning and study phase, to outstanding design work and implementation; a consistency that makes each project a pleasurable experience.”
Peter Riley, Project Management Unit Director, Harvard University