Apr 22, 2011

Lyme Properties Nominated For National Historic Award for Charles T. Wilder Center

Lyme Properties was humbled and honored to be nominated for a National Trust for Historic Preservation Award by the Preservation Trust for Vermont. The Wilder Center project was nominated for a National Honor Award, and David Clem was nominated for the Peter H. Brink Award for Personal Achievement.

The Preservation Trust of Vermont held their board meeting at the restored Charles T. Wilder Center on February 10th, and shortly thereafter they nominated the project for these prestigious awards. Lyme prepared application materials including before and after photos of the building, and we were touched by the letters of support we received for the project.

Visit to learn more.

Oct 16, 2010

Lyme Celebrates The Grand Opening of Wilder Center

The citizens of Wilder, Vermont and the Upper Valley joined Lyme Properties on October 16, 2010 to celebrate the grand opening of the Charles T. Wilder Center, a former Congregational Church built in 1890 that Lyme has fully restored and renovated over the course of the past 16 months.

Please visit the new Wilder Center website for more about the project and the Grand Opening celebration.

Dec 1, 2009

Building Design & Construction: "Research Facility Breaks The Mold"

Lyme Properties was honored to have The Center For Life Science Boston written up in the December 2009 edition of Building Design & Construction. As Senior Editor Jay W. Schneider wrote, "The Center for Life Science | Boston is a rare building, a speculative high-rise research facility that offers tenants—a who's who of the city's leading researchers and medical institutions—a plug-and-play framework for setting up individual lab and research space."

Click here to read the full article on the Building Design & Construction Website.

The full article can be downloaded here.

May 15, 2009

Lewiston Sun Journal: Historic Restorations Applauded

By Scott Taylor Staff WriterCopyright: Lewiston Sun JournalMay 15, 2009 5:00 amOriginal Article:

LEWISTON - You can tell a building matters to a community by the way the community reacts to renovations, developer David Clem said.

That's the case with the Dominican Block, the four-story building he's renovating on the corner of Lincoln and Cedar streets.

"I've had more people stop by than any other project, talking about what the building means to them," Clem said. "They say they used to go to school here, or go to a shop in the building. It really means a lot to them."

It means a lot to the city's Historic Preservation Review Board, as well. Clem's Dominican Block was one of three buildings recognized for renovation efforts. The board also recognized an entire district around Main and Frye street. That area, including parts of Frye, Main and College streets near the Bates College campus, earned a National Register of Historic Places designation this year.

Clem said Thursday he was midway through his renovation project, the one-time home of the Dominican Fathers. Built in 1882, it housed retail on its lower floors, a school on the middle and an open space on the top floor.

"That's the part that you fall in love with, even when it's full of 3,000 pigeons," Clem said.

Striking a balance

He's been walking a regulatory tightrope since he began the work in 2007.

"It's an old building, so the fire inspectors and (Americans with Disability Act) rules want the building brought up to date," he said. "That's the exact opposite of what the historic board wants."

It's worth it, however.

"The people that are working for me are having to understand that a building like this represents quality and a level of craftsmanship that is not standard or economically feasible these days," he said.

He plans to continue fire safety and ADA renovations this summer. He has a plan for how to use the building, but he's keeping it to himself for the moment.

"Whatever is going to happen, it's going to be up to this community," Clem said. "I'm just in charge of the bones. It's going to be up to the community to give it a body and bring it to life."

The board also recognized Community Concepts for building the Bates Street Senior Housing project so that it matches the architectural and design theme of its Kennedy Park neighborhood. The Franco-American Heritage Center at St. Mary's Church, which hosted Thursday's event, was also recognized for preservation efforts.

The event was to mark May as National Preservation Month, sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. That's a nonprofit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them.

Jan 18, 2009

Genzyme Center wins annual Parker Medal

'Green' building is bright and beautiful
By Robert Campbell, Globe Correspondent | January 18, 2009

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
Link to original article on

Is architecture a branch of sports?

Not really, but like everything else - elective politics, for instance - it has its sporting side. There are winners and losers, champions and prizes, strategies and promotions.

Every year about this time, a recent Boston building is declared the winner of what amounts to the annual Boston championship. It's picked as "the most beautiful piece of architecture, building, monument or structure within the limits of the City of Boston or the Metropolitan Parks District."

The words are those of an architect named J. Harleston Parker. Back in 1923, he established a prize called the Parker Medal, which has been bestowed each year since.

This year's Parker winner is the Genzyme Center, the headquarters of a major biotech company, at 500 Kendall St. near MIT.

Genzyme's building achieved instant world fame among architects in 2004 when it formally opened, mostly for its many so-called "green" features. The architect was Stefan Behnisch, based in Germany. Behnisch is also now the architect of Harvard's stem-cell laboratories in Allston.

I've always thought Genzyme was marvelous, probably the best office space ever created in or near Boston. But the Parker is administered by the Boston Society of Architects, which appoints a new selection jury each year. And as usual, this year's jurors fought over their choice.

They argued at length, says architect David Hacin, who chaired the jury, over the definition of the world "beautiful" (always a problem in architecture). Besides Genzyme, there were three other finalists: the Macallen Building, a condo complex in the shape of a dark mountain in South Boston, by Office dA; the Shapiro Campus Center, a student social center at Brandeis, by Charles Rose; and the new WGBH headquarters and studios in Brighton, by the New York firm the Polshek Partnership.

You can tell people disagree about architecture from the fact that none of last year's Parker runners-up - there were four - even made the finals this year. Last year's winner was the new Institute of Contemporary Art on the South Boston waterfront.

"We thought Genzyme has stood the test of time," says Hacin of the building, which opened five years ago. "When we visited, we were struck by the atmosphere indoors, especially in the atrium. It was like being on vacation. The air, which felt fresh and good, the quality of light, the buzz of activity. . . It was the atmospherics that put it over the top."

He adds, "There was also the subtext of its influence. It raised the bar for private-sector leadership in environmental design, and its influence on the new environmental regulations on buildings in Boston and Cambridge was exceptional."

When it opened, the Genzyme Center received a platinum rating, the highest LEED score (the letters stand for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), from the US Green Building Council. The council called it "one of the most environmentally responsible buildings in the country."

Genzyme is a 12-story building, with an exterior mostly of glass. It features a number of environmental ideas. Up on the roof, moving mirrors track the sun and direct its light down into the building's atrium, which rises the full height of the interior. A "chandelier" of translucent tiles hangs in the atrium, absorbing light and refocusing it elsewhere.

Computer-controlled window blinds open and close depending on the outdoor light level. Some energy is provided by waste steam from the nearby NSTAR power plant. There's a roof garden, there are solar panels, there are toilets you can choose to flush for high volume or low. Some of the building exterior is a double wall, two surfaces with a walkable space between, providing extra insulation.

What's most striking about Genzyme, though, is the way all these green initiatives work to make the place a physical and social delight. In and around the atrium, for example, there are 18 hanging gardens, all different. They not only generate oxygen, they ease the eye and offer restful places for quiet conversation. There are coffee kiosks on every floor. Eventually, a public restaurant will open at street level. A young Boston firm, Next Phase Studios, collaborated with Behnisch on the interiors.

Genzyme's developer was former Cambridge city councilor David Clem and his firm Lyme Properties. The building is one piece of a larger project built on a former industrial brownfield site. In a commendable attempt at quality, Clem worked with Toronto urban designer Ken Greenberg and landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh on the overall plan. He then organized architectural competitions for four of the individual buildings. In each case, several architects were paid to make designs from which a winner was chosen. (One, a biotech lab by California architect Steven Ehrlich, is itself a crisp architectural gem in buff ceramic tile and blue-green glass.)

Lyme has now sold the whole development. As a result, one of the best ideas, the extension into the site of an old industrial canal with a new boat launch, probably won't be implemented. A performance center, part of the initial plan, now seems doubtful in the current economy. But Harvard, MIT, and Mass. General are co-sponsoring new housing at the development's edge, and it's to be hoped that some day a busy mixed neighborhood will surround the Genzyme Center.

One more thing about sports. Sports is all about statistics, so here's just one on the Parker Medal. The architect who's won it the most often - five times - is the firm of Kallmann McKinnell & Wood. KMW is still active in Boston and designs, today, relatively conservative buildings. But KMW's first Parker, which arrived in 1969, was for Boston City Hall. And City Hall was recently nominated, by a travel agency nobody seems to have heard of before, as "the ugliest building in the world."

I guess we're still arguing over the meaning of "beauty." Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell can be reached at