HMFH Architects

Matter & Opinion: Existing Buildings—K-12 Schools

Join HMFHers Suni Dillard, James Liebman and Gary Brock at the Boston Society of Architecture’s upcoming web series Matter & Opinion: Existing Buildings this August as they explore the environmental and community benefits associated with the renovation of educational facilities.

In response to Boston’s commitment to becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2050, it is now more important than ever that we utilize the resources we have on hand. Deep energy retrofits and adaptive reuse of existing buildings provide incredible opportunity for reduced embodied carbon while simultaneously supporting community values and historic preservation. Through the Matter & Opinion: Existing Buildings web series, architects and clients share successful experiences leading complex renovation projects. HMFHers will discuss how existing schools that no longer serve their purpose can be renovated into forward-thinking, sustainable educational facilities.

Bristol County Agricultural High School: Gilbert Hall

Firm sustainability leader and Associate Suni Dillard will be joined by Adele Sands, the Director and Superintendent at Bristol Aggie, to elaborate on the steps taken to improve operational energy performance in the renovation of Gilbert Hall.

Gilbert Hall is a 69,000 sf academic hall at the heart of the new and updated Bristol County Agricultural High School campus, renovated to accommodate Bristol Aggie’s arboriculture program, a design lab and an indoor climbing lab. The existing Gilbert Hall structure, while not suited for the future educational needs of the school, provided lots of potential. With large windows to let in natural light, quality concrete and masonry able to be repurposed to save on embodied carbon and a historic and symbolic significance among the Bristol Aggie community, Gilbert Hall was ideal candidate for a gut renovation.

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

An expert in energy-efficient design and an Associate at HMFH, Gary Brock will discuss in depth the unique elements of this complex renovation that contributed to the overall performance of the finished building.

The redesign of Cambridge’s 400,000 sf, multi-building high school was initially launched to address a failing roof and inefficient mechanical systems, however, the city and HMFH saw the potential to also improve the buildings performance and quality to reinforce the city’s interest in sustainability and commitment to its public schools. The comprehensive phased renovation of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School was designed and constructed with sustainability in mind; energy efficient systems resulted in a net an energy savings of 2.5 million lbs. of CO2 per year and 95% of all construction waste was diverted from landfills.

Bridge Boston Charter School

Senior Associate James Liebman will be joined by the Bridge Boston Board of Trustees President Beth Kressley-Goldstein to discuss the various challenges that present themselves in a complex renovation project and the creative design solutions achieved as a result.

To create a permanent home for Bridge Boston Charter School that ties place to mission, HMFH transformed a former bunker-like community health center into a safe, welcoming environment that nurtures the whole child. Numerous advantages including an unoccupied site and an existing building that holds value within the community contributed toward the decision to renovate rather than build a new facility for the charter school.


Interested in learning more about embodied carbon savings through renovation? Register for the session HERE.