AIAVT Members Speak Up on the Proposed Demolition of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

By John Phelan - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

As reported in the media recently, the non-profit organization Preservation Burlington has filed a state appeal to stop the demolition of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Burlington.  Many AIAVT members have raised their voice on this, which is an important architectural issue for our state.

The Burlington Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was completed in 1977 and is considered by many to be a modernist landmark. It was designed by the architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, with landscape design by Daniel Urban Kiley. This fall, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington filed permits to demolish the building.

On January 11, 2023 the Burlington Development Review Board took public testimony on the proposed demolition, including testimony from many AIAVT members. After deliberation, the Board voted 4-2 to approve the application, which gives the applicant permission to demolish the building.

Preservation Burlington is leading an appeal to save the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception from demolition. “[Preservation Burlington]’s mission is to advocate for an appropriate adaptive reuse solution for 20 Pine Street that respects the original design of the building and the surrounding landscape. 20 Pine Street represents an incredible opportunity to rehabilitate a Burlington landmark for continued use as an integral part of the community.”

The Diocese hopes to sell the property after demolition, and it is anticipated that a buyer would redevelop the site with a multi-unit apartment building.

AIAVT is a strong advocate for affordable housing and we continue to support affordable housing solutions, including our hosting of the Affordable Housing Charette event in 2022. New developments that add housing to Vermont’s downtowns are an important part of the solution to our current housing crisis.  At the same time, we recognize the importance of protecting buildings of historic significance and promote adaptive reuse as one way that historic buildings can effectively extend their useful life. As an organization with a broad and inclusive membership we appreciate the complex and unique contexts of each individual design project.

If you wish to learn more about the project appeal and advocacy efforts, visit, a webpage maintained by Preservation Burlington.  A GoFundMe page has also been created to support the appeal.