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When Tufts University needed to repair a historic dormitory on their Medford, Massachusetts campus, they had already done the math and recognized the long-term savings of using synthetic materials. They wanted to remove all exterior wood - even the smallest piece. At the same time, they wanted to preserve the elaborate architectural details that gave the Capen House its character

We were confident we could replicate the exterior in modern materials while maintaining the original look of this 1876 building. Working with general contractor YourSpace Landscape and Construction Inc., of Burlington MA, they began the careful process of stripping the exterior.


We reduced each architectural profile down to its individual parts. After measuring and photographing each part, we created its synthetic replica. Finally, we reassembled the profiles –  about 50 in total, each composed of approximately 20 distinct parts.

Once the exterior was finished, the dormitory, housing students involved in African studies, was repainted in its original colors. The resulting renovation was a success; you couldn’t tell the difference between the renovated building and the original.

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