A Reenergized Living + Learning Environment

Wellesley College and Finegold Alexander strive for carbon neutrality, together.

Wellesley College Severance Hall

Wellesley College
Wellesley, MA

Finegold Alexander has been working closely with Wellesley College as it embarks on a 10-year plan to renovate and upgrade their portfolio of historic residence halls. The effort began with an in-depth study of Severance Hall—a 1927 Victorian-Gothic structure. A range of options were presented to address deferred maintenance, life safety, accessibility, code and energy use concerns. The two phased renovation meant completing two summer slammers focused on significant energy reduction measures and improved accessibility, all achieved within tight budget parameters. Work included new insulated furring at exterior walls, interior storm windows, and new terminal radiation units for low temperature hot water. Within the tight budget, select reconfiguration allowed for the creation of suites and accessible kitchenettes and bathrooms. The existing historic living room and other gathering spaces received new lighting that both highlights their historical features while providing an appropriate environment for gathering and study. New furnishings and technology meet today’s student needs while respecting the building and College’s long history of providing “an excellent liberal arts education to women who will make a difference in the world.”

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55,975 SF
Space Planning, Feasibility Study, Exterior Restoration and Preservation, Interior Renovations and Systems Upgrades
Residence Hall with bedrooms, shared bathrooms, kitchenettes and common areas
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Project EUI
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“It was really exciting to see the collaborative work between the architects and the contractors and the College to imagine what we could do to make this space really a powerful experience for all students.”

Helen Wang | Associate Dean of Residential Life and Community Development

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A small courtyard addition provides for an accessible connection between the building’s two principal levels.

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“This was a very challenging project. The whole team – Owner, Architect and Construction Manager spent many days and late nights determining how to make the most difference with every dollar of the budget. We believe the result demonstrates the value of teamwork and the shared purpose of creating a sustainable, accessible, low energy environment for today’s and tomorrow’s students.”

Rebecca L. Berry, AIA | Principal, Finegold Alexander