In 2002, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Safety Architectural Access Board selected the Division of Continuing Education’s 53 Church Street renovation project to receive a Merit Award. Given as part of the board's Accessible Design Awards competition, it recognizes the contribution of effective accessibility design to architectural excellence.
The unique architecture of the computer complex incorporates one of Cambridge’s last remaining examples of an early-nineteenth-century middle-class structure with a 1920s brick building that originally served as a school of architecture for women. While respecting the internal and external integrity of both buildings, Project Architect Mac Freeman of BTA Architects Inc. skillfully designed a central elevator core and street-level entrance to improve accessibility. New heating, cooling, electrical, and wiring systems were also installed in order to accommodate the ever-increasing technological needs of the classrooms, workrooms, and offices.
Now home to the Division of Continuing Education’s computer facility, 53 Church Street features more than 150 computers running Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems, a multimedia lab with video capture workstations, an adaptive technology lab, and a dedicated help desk staff ready to assist all DCE faculty and students.
The 53 Church Street project was also selected by the Cambridge Historical Commission to receive a Preservation Award, which annually recognizes outstanding historic preservation projects. The Cambridge Preservation Program promotes high quality preservation work in Cambridge and honors property owners who conserve and protect the city’s architecture.