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Apr 29, 2021

Scott Wilson AIA and Scott Butler AIA


Scott Butler AIA [left]
Scott Wilson AIA [right]

Image courtesy Wilson Butler Architects

Scott Wilson AIA & Scott Butler AIA, Founders and Directors of Wilson Butler Architects

Scott Wilson AIA (SW) and Scott Butler AIA (SB), founders of Wilson Butler Architects have been honored by the Boston Arts Academy Foundation for a Legacy of Achievement in the Visual Arts.


M.A. Architecture, University of Illinois
B.S. Architecture, University of Illinois

Master of Architecture/University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Environmental Studies/University of Manitoba

Professional interests:


  • Architecture focused on the human experience and the celebration and the joy in living.
  • The power of architect to shape our emotions can never be understated.


  • Sustainability in Coastal Areas and how to address rising sea levels.
  • Industrialization in the building process to improve quality and lower cost.
  • Developing financial models that allow more individuals to become architects, as well as to manage a successful business.
  • Finding innovative solutions to unique design and financial challenges; specifically in the area of entertainment and the performing arts.

When did you first become interested in architecture as a possible career?

SW: During my 6th Grade vacation visit to “House on The Rock” just down the road from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin East School in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

SB: Immediately after I’d heard my parents had sent off an application to University of Manitoba for an undergraduate architectural program; while I was hitch-hiking around the west coast of Canada with no future plans. Turns out they did the right thing. I found my calling and they ensured that I never returned home to live with them again.

How do you explain to your parents what you do for a living?

SB: See answer to the previous question. They didn’t need it explained. They just needed it to take.

If you could give the you of 10 years ago advice, what would it be?

SW: How about 30 or 40 years ago? Never take any small project or seemingly insignificant client for granted. Doing your best for both, at all times, will be a building block to your future. Any small block may become the foundation.

What has been your most proud moment as an architect?

SW: At my age, my best hope is that I have already nurtured hundreds of talented young professionals that have adopted my own professional standards of care, of integrity, and of honesty, and with that solid foundation, they willingly, creatively, and confidently tackle the challenges at hand.

SB: It used to be when we won a project. Then it was when attended an opening, or won an award, for a project. Now it’s when employees, who came to us as interns, are leading our team to those victories. Most recently it was when two employees, Ali Horwitz and Leah Solomon, initiated the Boston Arts Academy Architecture Immersion Program, while enlisting several of their colleagues.

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Model of the exterior of the new Boston Arts Academy facility

Image courtesy Wilson Butler Architects

Do you believe that architecture/design can save the world?

SW: It must do so! We, as architects, have the largest long-term influence on everything in the built world and we are responsible for far too much of the Earth’s environmental and social woes. We helped make the mess, so we must fix it. But we need governmental mandates to help us do so- as profit driven industry and business will be too slow and too late.

SB: On a good day…

Where do you find inspiration?

SW: This week's “Pink” Super Moon. From my Southie roof deck, red wine in hand, I was thinking about the 1969 moon landing and wondering if we could ever accomplish such amazing technology achievements today with such confidence and courage—albeit the Mars landing with Percy is pretty awesome. If we could, we ought to be able to address Global Warming and heal the endangered Earth we inhabit.

SB: Typically outdoors, getting some exercise and not thinking too hard. Of course this is most likely following a hellacious week of intense deadlines and demands.

What do you see as the largest barrier to equity in the profession?

The investment of both time and money to become a registered architect. Unlike most other professions it is difficult for an individual to see when they would see a return on their investment. There needs to be a lower threshold for entry; a better level of compensation; a clearer understanding of the rewards that come from helping shape people’s environments, while leaving a legacy of built work. It can be very gratifying.

What are some changes that you have implemented in your firm (or for yourself) to address issues of equity in the profession?

We have enlisted outstanding individuals in the office who reflect our diversity to be integral to recruitment, hiring, and mentorship programs.

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Rendering of the Main Theater at the new Boston Arts Academy facility

Image courtesy Wilson Butler Architects

What do you see as the largest barrier to a zero-waste building, city, and world?

SW: First Cost until the initial technology becomes affordable with scale.

SB: Our inability to discern quality from quantity, especially in the US. As one colleague once said when asked whether she’d choose quality, or quantity, her response was ‘quality of course and lots of it!’ While said in jest it points to the excess we’ve all been conditioned to desire.

What is the greatest potential for architecture to shape a neighborhood community?

SW: Schools for social responsibility and Urban Streetscape for broader community pride…and trees.

SB: Architecture must be welcoming, buildings of all types must be approachable and communities must believe those buildings are theirs. To do that buildings must be actively programmed for the larger community even while serving specific audiences. Over the past two decades the greatest focus of our work designing Performing Arts Centers has been about the spaces outside of the auditoriums, off the main stages and beyond the six nights of performances and matinees. There are lots of ways to both connect more to the community through education and events, while at the same time creating new revenue models.

If you could sum up your outlook on life on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

SW: “It probably wasn’t meant to be—get over it” By that I mean move on in pursuit of the “next victory.”

SB: "If you can read this, the boat has fallen off the back."

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Model detail of the exterior of the new Boston Arts Academy facility

Image courtesy Wilson Butler Architects