The Boston Preservation Alliance is pleased to present our 2023 Codman Lifetime Achievement Award to Michael Cannizzo, whose work in Boston has ensured the preservation and protection of the city’s historic built environment. As a senior architect with extensive experience in design review, his work encompasses restoration, and new construction — all while maintaining a regard for the existing structural landscape.
As Senior Architect and eventual Deputy Director for Urban Design at the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), Michael Cannizzo has reviewed and approved numerous high-profile development projects that directly address some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. He has spent the last twenty years with this organization, with many colleagues who speak ever so highly of him. Michael is an “extremely esteemed and respected colleague across many departments and commissions, and also with developers and designers,” says Jill Ochs Zick, Senior Landscape Architect and Manager of the Public Realm at the BPDA, “Beloved by his staff. His great head of hair! Kind with a seemingly bottomless well of patience. Amazing memory for project details and knows how to problem solve.”
His work ensures Boston’s growth and development without compromising its distinctive character. Michael led the Urban Design team responsible for the Harrison Albany Neighborhood Plan centered on improving community life for the area’s diverse population. The Plan was eventually adapted into the South End Zoning Code where Michael’s work extends to the approval of several new construction projects that stand as prime instances of good construction in a historic district. He is further responsible for reviewing and approving the ongoing renovation of Fenway Park. While at the BPDA, Michael has also served as a member of the Boston Arts Commission where he has approved several public pieces including Hank Willis Thomas’ The Embrace on the Boston Common. Both his work and lifestyle are impactful and inclusive, as Alexa Pinard, Urban Designer at the BPDA shares, “Michael’s thoughtful, team-building approach to design and historic preservation stands out for me. He fosters an inclusive environment where all people and ideas are welcome and considered.”
Prior to his work with the Development Agency, Michael served as the Staff Architect for the Boston Landmarks Commission, where he reviewed a number of renovation proposals including projects at the Boston Public Library, Paramount Theater, Commonwealth Women’s Memorial the South End’s Allen and Porter Houses, as well as Parks Department additions to the Common and Public Garden. He was also responsible for reviewing the impacts of the Central Artery/Tunel Project on surrounding historic resources and developing an updated template for the Standards and Criteria utilized in study reports. While at the BLC, Michael assisted in drafting Article 85 in the Boston Zoning Code which outlines a more conscious demolition process. The Demolition Delay Article establishes a waiting period for developers to consider alternatives to demolition. His time with the Landmarks Commission firmly anchors Michaels’s career in protecting the integrity of Boston’s historic landscape.
“At one time or another, Michael Cannizzo has touched every corner of the city,” says Alison Frazee, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “His expertise and depth of experience, attention to detail, and passion for preservation and placemaking have made Boston a better city for us all.”
Join us on October 16 as we celebrate the lifetime achievements of Michael Cannizzo.
Previous Codman Award for Lifetime Achievement Recipients:
2012–Richard J. Bertman
2010—Dr. Judith Selwyn
2006—Joe and Susan Park
1997—Robert G. Neiley