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The Firm

Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects is the collaboration of Laurence F. Wilson, M. Jeffrey Baker and Thomas A. Burgess, along with a staff of dedicated employees in the practice of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation.  The firm has been established in various iterations since 1965, and currently has offices in Albany, New York and Williamsburg, Virginia.  Through the last five decades, the firm has engaged broad experiences in a variety of extraordinary and complex projects.  Much of the work has involved existing and historic buildings including:


  • Conservation

  • Restoration

  • Renovation

  • Rehabilitation

  • Adaptive Use

  • Contextual and Modern Additions

  • Contextual and Modern New Buildings


The firm has achieved national prominence with the restoration of numerous National Historic Landmarks such as:


  • Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

  • Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

  • James and Dolly Madison’s Montpelier

  • George Washington's Mount Vernon

  • George Washington’s Birthplace, Ferry Farm

  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Florida Southern College  

  • State Capitols (New York, Tennessee, Vermont, Maryland)


While these projects attest to the firm’s achievements at the forefront of preservation on the highest level, we have also successfully completed hundreds of projects at numerous college campuses, local, state and federal courthouses, museums, libraries, hospitality and fitness facilities, and private residences.  Integral to our work is the discipline of research, planning and program development.  The firm is equally skilled at seamlessly inserting accurate period appropriate design as well as contemporary architecture.  Our goal has always been to engage in a broad and diverse architectural practice.


At the core of every project is the conviction that each project is unique, requiring thoughtful and creative solutions specific to that project.  Our focus is on disciplined research and evidence driven solutions, with an emphasis on contextual design that respects the material environment and responds to the program, budget, and client expectations. 


Our work ranges from the strictest building conservation of National Historic Landmarks, to researched conjectural historic reconstructions of lost landmarks, to fully contemporary alterations and insertions, to modern buildings and additions.  Seemingly divergent disciplines, historic preservation and modern design, are remarkably compatible and enhance respective outcomes.  We believe this interdisciplinary fusion generates innovation.  Cutting edge technologies are often applied directly alongside time-tested traditional techniques in our restorations as well as new buildings.  Thorough research and analysis of historic buildings, how they were constructed, materials used, detailing, how they age and deteriorate, formal and aesthetic composition (style), all greatly contribute to understanding appropriate restoration needs, as well to the design and detailing of new buildings and additions, and to how they will perform.  Conversely, the discipline of designing and detailing new buildings informs how traditional builders and architects approached building design and subsequently how we design for their interventions.    


Finally, we strongly emphasize performance and building science in relation to thermal and moisture management, weathering, and construct-ability of building envelopes with careful attention to proper detailing of roof and wall sections.  We have extensive experience in the detailing of new and restoration of historic masonry systems and we have been a leader in the resurgence of lime and natural cement mortars.  Much of our success is indebted to collaborations with artisans, craftsmen, engineers and scientists with whom we have long established relationships.

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