2021 Young Architect Award Recipient
Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.
Already in her young career, Adrienne Cali Magners, AIA, has reinvigorated a number of significant historical buildings. Through her careful attention to detail, she has elevated the practice of historic perseveration, and her experience with adaptive reuse projects is informing new methods of restoration that allow buildings to straddle both the present and future. As adept with new methods and tools as she is traditional, her creativity and talent ensure that yesterday’s buildings shine even brighter today.
After a number of summer internships in Georgia during her master’s studies at Savannah College of Art and Design, during which she volunteered with the Historic Savannah Foundation and introduced children to preservation through its history camps, Cali Magners joined Boston’s Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype. There she worked as a historic preservation specialist on a number of significant projects, such as the firm’s rehabilitation of Independence Hall’s tower in Philadelphia. In 2014, Cali Magners joined Bruner/Cott Architects, also in Boston, and was an invaluable leader for its high-profile preservation and reuse project teams.
"I have admired both her unwavering commitment to the stewardship of historic resources and her passion for helping those buildings find their place in the modern world"
In partnership with Harvard University and the Cambridge Historical Commission, Cali Magners led the Bruner/Cott team charged with the comprehensive and highly detailed restoration of Harvard Hall. Cali Magners returned the building, set on the edge of Harvard Yard and designed in the High Georgian style by Governor Francis Bernard and Thomas Dawes, to its 1870 appearance by salvaging stone, finding perfect mortar matches, and retaining as much original material as possible. Today, Cali Magners is overseeing the transformation of Boston’s Edison Power Plant, shaping the master plan for the rehabilitation of the structure’s turbine halls. When the space is ready for commercial venues, salvaged steam power generation equipment will highlight and provide context for the space’s history.
“From the moment she walked in our door, I have admired both her unwavering commitment to the stewardship of historic resources and her passion for helping those buildings find their place in the modern world,” wrote Jason Forney, FAIA, partner and principal at Bruner/Cott, in a letter nominating Cali Magners for the Young Architect Award. “Her dedication to the architectural profession, to our practice, and to the communities that her projects serve are exemplary. Adrienne is constantly pioneering historic preservation practices and finding new ways to restore old buildings. She is just as likely to use lasers and drones as she is bucket lifts and tape measures.”
Cali Mangers’ preservation work has been lauded by organizations such as Preservation Massachusetts, which named her a Next Generation Leader, and the Association for Preservation Technology Northeast, where she is a board member. The Boston Society of Architects regularly taps her to speak to its Historic Resources Committee, and her ability to disambiguate complex restoration projects and manage new discovery techniques provides critical insight for her colleagues. She remains an active member of a number of industry organizations, the Boston Preservation Alliance and the National Trust for Historic Preservation among them.
In her firm, Cali Magners is an eager mentor for not only her fellow design professionals, but subcontractors and client representatives, too. She operates with the understanding that equipping everyone with the same preservation principles results in a unified design process and outcome.
“She is not only outstanding in her architectural skills and knowledge, but she also speaks the language of, and seamlessly bridges the gaps between, the various professional disciplines and construction trades involved in complex historic preservation projects,” wrote Matthew B. Bronski, principal of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, a Massachusetts-based engineering firm. “Working closely and collaboratively with the entire project team, she is a highly skilled and adept project manager who consistently and creatively leverages the project team’s diverse perspectives, skills, and experience to develop innovative and creative, yet highly appropriate and sensitive, solutions to complex problems that work across all disciplines.”