David Fixler, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C

Historic Preservation & Design

David has guided the restoration and renovation of numerous significant landmark facilities for government and higher education clients nationwide. An internationally recognized expert on the Modern Movement and mid-century modern buildings, he is co-editor of the recently released Aalto and America. His approach to historic preservation as a design discipline sensitively balances art, technology, and history to ensure energy-efficient modernizations that extend the useful life of culturally significant structures.

A sought-after speaker and author, David has been published in such magazines as Architecture, Architectural Record, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, APT Bulletin, Metropolis, Cultural Resources Management, Traditional Buildings, Spazio (Italy) and PTAH (Finland). He has lectured and taught at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Wellesley College, the Wentworth Institute of Technology, and the Boston Architectural Center.

David has served as a design juror at MIT and the Rhode Island School of Design, and conceived, helped to organize, and participated in numerous conferences on a wide range of architecture and preservation topics. He is also a co-founder and president of DOCOMOMO-US/New England, co-chair of the Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI) Committee on Modern Heritage, and a past Board member of the Society of Architectural Historians.


Renewing Modernism: Notes on the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Principles for Practice

by David Fixler

University of Pennsylvania, Richards Medical Research Laboratories

The dialogue that began in the late 1980s concerning how we can best shepherd the legacy of modernism into a durable and sustainable future raises many issues that are fundamentally changing the way in which preservation professionals approach the rehabilitation of a large segment of the built environment. While we may philosophically debate when and how modernism devolves into the polyglot architectural expressions that have proliferated since the 1970s, technically we are dealing with many of the same issues – thin construction, ephemeral materials, naïve detailing and rapidly changing uses that render buildings tailored to a bespoke program now functionally obsolete – that we have been tackling with mid-century structures. Solutions to these problems require a robust, creative approach that fortuitously is bringing more design to preservation and vice versa. One area in particular that has been questionable, if not taboo in the traditional preservation charters, is acknowledging the necessity of intervention that is sufficiently robust to change and improve user perception and ultimately acceptance in order to keep a resource relevant and economically viable.

Recycling by Design for Green Schools

by David Fixler

Recycling campus buildings and preserving historic resources can help secure heritage, achieve a more sustainable environment and draw economic benefits

Representative Projects

Exterior view at dusk

Princeton Theological Seminary

Bicentennial Library

Princeton, NJ

Academic Innovation

A “library for the world” balances the demands of its global mission with respect for the local community.

Reading Room

Harvard University

Widener Library

Cambridge, MA

Higher Education

The modernization of this campus icon embodies many of the challenges presented by working in older and historic buildings.

Exterior view at dusk

National Archives and Records Administration

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Boston, MA


More secure and accessible collections help advance JFK's legacy to inspire new generations.

Exterior of Faneuil Hall at Night

US National Park Service

Faneuil Hall

Boston, MA


Over one million annual visitors pass through this landmark, the portal to the Massachusetts National Parks.

reading room

Harvard University

Hilles Library

Cambridge, MA

Higher Education

This project was recognized by the University, the Cambridge Historical Commission, and DOCOMOMO International as an important contribution to the dialogue on sustaining the legacy of mid-century modernism.

view of library cafe

Harvard University

Lamont Library

Cambridge, MA

Higher Education

The modernized Library accommodates the changing ways in which students learn, communicate, and study in a 24/7 environment.

students sitting on campus lawn with Iowa State Capitol Building is the distance

University of Iowa

Old Capitol Museum

Iowa City, IA

Higher Education

The renovation of this historic signature building continues to enhance the beauty of the campus, making it an inviting educational experience for students and faculty alike.

Modernized interior of the Richards Labs

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Richards Medical Research Laboratories

Philadelphia, PA


Contemporary interventions guided by careful analysis of the original design unlock the potential of an outdated facility.