2022 Honorary Membership Recipient
The AIA recognizes the notable contributions and service of people outside of the architecture profession with Honorary Membership.
Focusing on preserving Boston’s buildings, landscapes, and stories of the city’s past, Greg Galer, Hon. AIA, has greatly enriched Boston’s architectural community and its built environment. As the executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance (BPA), Galer serves its membership through his unrivaled ability to forge genuine and lasting relationships. He is an eager collaborator with the Boston Society of Architects and works closely with design professionals to positively impact Boston and the national preservation scene. In February 2022, he took on the role of Executive Director of the Association for Preservation Technology International.
Galer has been actively engaged in historic preservation and adaptive reuse for more than three decades. Even before he finished his undergraduate studies, he completed building surveys and documentation for what is now Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. In his early 20s, Galer fostered numerous collaborations between architects, archeologists, historians, and curators. Before stepping in to helm the BPA in 2012, Galer was an independent consultant who worked across dozens of historic sites managing renovations and overseeing collections and exhibitions.
As the leader of the BPA, a regular and willing partner for Boston’s architects, Galer provided thoughtful and respectful guidance for projects of all sizes and historic periods. His deep knowledge of design principles, architecture’s history, and the complex challenges that arise when new construction meets historic fabric make him an invaluable asset for design teams. In the past five years alone, Galer has been involved in development in Boston worth nearly $4 billion. In his new role at APT, he will continue to work closely with architects and engineers, now internationally.
During his tenure, Galer has been a voice of reason and an advocate for design’s ability to enrich and heal communities. He plays an active role in the effort to modernize the preservation movement in Boston and beyond as a director of the National Preservation Partners Network, which represents preservationists in 38 states and territories. Through his work, the national preservation movement is focused on issues such as affordable housing, trades and workforce development, sustainability, and diversity and racial justice. In addition, Galer oversees an important collaboration between the network and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
In Boston and greater Massachusetts, Galer has been involved in a diverse range of preservation projects, from Fenway Park, Boston Common, and Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace. Development in the city requires navigating community and committee meetings as well as state approvals. Galer has often been an influential voice during this process, testifying at the Boston Civic Design Commission and other city agencies. The city’s development community recognizes and values his forward-thinking approach, while the preservation community appreciates his continued guidance of its advocacy.
In his near-daily interactions with AIA members, Galer challenges architects to think creatively about design in the context of the historic city, encouraging preservation and bold adaptation. His approach helps elevate their work, as evidenced by the recent shift from demolition to adaptation at Boston Government Service Center, originally designed by Paul Rudolph.
Deftly able to work across disciplines and within diverse communities, Galer is evolving the preservation movement to meet today’s demands. He is a true leader in ensuring that preservation remains both relevant and becomes more inclusive.