John L. Wilson AL AB’ 62, MAR ’66 passed away at his home in Newton at the age of 78. Among his many achievements, Wilson founded the Boston Society of Architects Task Force to End Homelessness in 1986, bringing together the pro bono talents of some 200 design professionals. “The architectural community was so excited that 26 different precious stones could be used in the lobby of an office building, yet there were people sleeping on the grates outside,” Mr. Wilson told the Boston Globe in 1996. “It was as if the money pumped into these buildings grew to represent the hope sucked out of the poorest urban neighborhoods.”
“He absolutely served as a conscience for the profession,” said Elizabeth Padjen, a former president of the Boston Society of Architects and a former editor of ArchitectureBoston magazine. “Sometimes an organization or a board is lucky enough to have a member who serves as its social conscience, someone who will articulate its values and articulate a greater purpose. And John just did that.”
A fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Wilson was recognized with a Whitney M. Young Jr. Award by the organization in 1996 for his task force work.
Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe.
posted August, 2019
“History’s savior”: Edward Des Jardins MArch ’66 Steps Down as Georgetown Historical Commission Chairman
After nearly half a century working to preserve buildings and sites in his native New England, Edward “Ed” Des Jardins MArch ’66 stepped down as Chairman for the Georgetown Historical Commission in 2017. Georgetown Record calls him “History’s savior” for his work in preservation, historical commissioning, and overseeing the restoration of many monuments. After studying with Benjamin Thompson, chairman of the Department of Architecture at the GSD, Des Jardins, joined Thompson’s Cambridge-based architecture firm. He spent the next 21 years designing and working on numerous projects, including Boston’s Faneuil Hall markets, the South Street Seaport in New York, and Colonial Williamsburg. “And that kind of got me into historical preservation” said Des Jardins, who served as chairman of Georgetown, MA’s Bicentennial Commission in 1976. The recipient of national AIA and other awards, Des Jardins was honored with a Massachusetts Historical Commission Historic Preservation Award from the state in 2014.
Now 81, Des Jardins plans to spend more time with his family, including his kids and grandkids on the West Coast. Read a letter by Des Jardins to “all you folks who appreciate Historic Preservation,” and view a few of his sketches of historic buildings that he has been involved with over the years (below). “Let’s keep our local history alive, for once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” writes Des Jardins.
posted May, 2018