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Massachusetts State Police Lower Basin Barracks Wins “2024 Paul & Niki Tsongas Award”

The Tsongas Award is Preservation Massachusetts' highest honor, honoring people and projects that have displayed the highest level of commitment to historic preservation in the Commonwealth.  Named for the award's first recipient, Senator Paul Tsongas, it was expanded in 2016 to include the contributions of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas to preservation efforts across all of Massachusetts.

The project team of the recently unveiled Lower Basin (Boston) Barracks, consisting of Finegold Alexander, in conjunction with STV as Public Safety Specialist, were awarding the 2024 Paul & Niki Tsongas Award for the design, renovation, modernization, and addition to the historic Lower Basin Barracks for the Massachusetts State Police.


The project involved the adaptive reuse of the former Charles River Lower Locks Building to provide space for the consolidation of the Brighton and Boston Barracks, formerly known as the Upper and Lower Basin Barracks, respectively, and for current and projected mission requirements. The goal was to develop a public facility that appropriately balances functionality and visual appeal. This facility is on the National Register of Historic Places and is prominently located in the Lower Charles River Basin. The design involved the State Police, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and incorporated extensive public outreach.

The Lower Basin Barracks project championed sustainability and community well-being. Achieving LEED Gold certification, the renovation includes features such as interior light shelves, efficient all-electric HVAC systems, rainwater harvesting, and native plantings. To enhance resiliency, key infrastructure rooms were located on the second floor, and a bioretention area is integrated. The redesign significantly increases parkland, reducing parking spaces from 75 to 20, fostering public recreation.


The facility goes beyond its police barracks role, offering a new conference space for community use, including public toilets. The project seamlessly extends the Esplanade character onto the site, promoting a welcoming environment, while prioritizing safe pedestrian and bicycle circulation and incorporating shaded glazing for sustainability and comfort.


Project Team:

Copley Wolff Design Group, Inc.; Epsilon Associates, Inc.;

Finegold Alexander Architects; Kalin Associates; McPhail Associates;

R.W. Sullivan Engineering; RSE Associates; Samiotes Consultants Inc.;

STV Inc.; The Green Engineer


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