Founding and Philosophy

Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc. was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1962 by a group of seven designers with varied interests and backgrounds who believed their collaborative efforts would be far more effective than those of any individual. The original seven partners: Lou Bakanowsky, Ivan Chermayeff, Peter Chermayeff, Alden Christie, Paul Dietrich, Tom Geismar, and Terry Rankine applied their diverse skills in architecture, planning, exhibit design, graphics, industrial design, and filmmaking to create a single design studio founded on the conviction that each assignment, at any scale, would be an opportunity to apply fresh thinking in search of creative solutions. After Alden Christie left the firm, the founders promoted Charles Redmon to Principal in 1970, and he led the C7A design team to complete an affordable housing project in Memphis. Chuck retired from the firm in 2014. As the firm matured and the original founders retired or moved on to pursue different interests, C7A’s current generation of Principals have propelled C7A into the modern age, applying the firm’s collaborative approach to design excellence on several exciting new commissions while carrying forward the ideals that launched the firm more than fifty years ago.

Integrated Design

In writing about the firm, the architecture critic Robert Campbell stated that “From the start, the Seven set out to combine architecture with the other design arts with exhibits, with graphics, and signage, with public art, with product design, with film, even with city planning. Most of their work is a collaboration among many disciplines…”

Diverse Portfolio

Cambridge Seven Associates has applied this approach to a diverse range of building types including academic, museum, exhibit, hospitality, transportation, retail, office, and aquarium facilities. The firm has practiced throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, annually completing work totaling over $500 million in construction costs.

Nationally Awarded

Winner of the prestigious American Institute of Architects Firm Award, Cambridge Seven Associates is internationally acclaimed for its innovative work in architecture, urban design, planning, exhibitions, graphic, and interior design. Cited for its “uncompromising clarity of purpose, design excellence, and an abiding respect for and delight in the human use of their projects,” the Firm Award Jury described C7A as “an influential and stimulating example, demonstrating new directions of professional practice.” The Jury also commended “the staying power of their approach,” noting, “The impact, graphics, and readability of their work continue to serve as landmarks”

Sustainable Approach

Since the very first project for the New England Aquarium, and in numerous projects in architecture and exhibit design today, Cambridge Seven Associates has been designing buildings that teach a respect for our environment and educate the public about conservation, through both example and content. In-house LEED accredited professionals, collaborations with green design leaders, and total building system integration with our engineers is leading to sustainable projects for US agencies, universities, not-for-profits, and businesses.

Paul Dietrich Gallery: Temporarily Closed

The C7A Gallery was established in 1999 by one of the firm’s founding partners, Paul Dietrich, as a tribute to these collaborations across all design disciplines. The Gallery showcases some of our favorite artists – our employees – some of whom have chosen to pursue careers outside of, but related to, architecture and design. We hope that you will drop by and be inspired by our artist friends!

The Paul Dietrich Gallery at C7A is located on the 5th floor

The C7A Gallery will be closed during office renovations and will tentatively reopen around February of 2015. Please check back in the new year when we will announce our next show.