Barba + Wheelock Architects is a professional architectural firm located in Portland, Maine that is dedicated to the philosophy that the fabric of the past is an integral part of the future.  The firm was established with a commitment to preserving the best of New England’s heritage while providing integral building solutions for the future.  This approach encompasses the use of regional and sustainable materials with research of past construction techniques and materials to create the most appropriate response to each design challenge.

Recognized with numerous awards, the firm offers a comprehensive range of architectural and planning services including:  master planning, and preservation planning; site feasibility and programming; rehabilitation and additions; new construction; and historic restoration design.  Representative clients include the Portland Museum of Art, Bowdoin College, Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Governor Baxter School for the Deaf), Maine Coast Waldorf School, the University of Maine, Maine Historical Society, and many towns, churches, libraries, municipalities and private residential clients throughout the Northeast.

A core strength of the firm is its experience with and commitment to partnering with unique groups and communities to design spaces that address specific needs and programs.  Each of our projects demands and deserves a fresh approach, and we thrive on meeting this type of challenge.

Barba + Wheelock is a small firm capable of handling substantial projects in an efficient and cost effective manner.  Our projects range in type, size, materials and mission, but all are unified by our design excellence and thorough, direct, and constant attention to our client’s needs.

Many of our projects involve public-private partnerships in funding and oversight. We are well versed in balancing the needs of and requirements of multiple funding sources.

What sets our firm apart is our mission-driven focus on designing buildings and places that have the ability to affect social change.  None of our projects are the same, in fact, with our focus on the core values, vision, and pedagogy for each community; each project is aptly suited to the community it serves.  Barba + Wheelock’s philosophy of design is to arrive at the most appropriate solution for each situation.  No two B+W projects look the same as they are fully responsive to their client’s goals and values and to the specific building.

Barba + Wheelock is a certified Women-Owned Disadvantaged Business Enterprise in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.


Awards, Distinctions, and Publications

Barba + Wheelock has been humbled to receive many awards, National, Regional and Local over the past quarter century, attesting to the esteem of our colleagues. We have also had our work featured in many publications:  Architectural Record, Boston Globe, Design New England, and even featured on NPR. See the list below.

National AIA Awards

AIA Honor Award

Excellence in Interior Design
David Saul Smith Union
Bowdoin College
Brunswick, ME

Regional AIA Awards

Connecticut AIA Award
Fairview Cemetery
West Hartford, CT

Maine AIA Award
Fairview Cemetery
West Hartford, CT

Maine Preservation Honor Awards

Merrill Memorial Library

Yarmouth, Maine
Honor Award

Rockefeller Hall, Acadia National Park

Winter Harbor, Maine
Honor Award:  Adaptive Use

Winslow Homer Studio Restoration
Honor Award

Scarborough, Maine

Lockwood-Hathaway Mill
Waterville, Maine
Honor Award:  Adaptive Reuse

Beech Nut and Its Cultural Landscape
Honor Award

Rockport, Maine

Nancy Barba, AIA
Preservation Champion

Nancy Barba was awarded the prestigious Preservation Champion Award from Maine Preservation, joining the company of notable Governor (now U.S. Senator) Angus King and U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. 2006

Brewster Hall, Governor Baxter School for the Deaf

LEED – NC v2 Silver Certification from United States Green Building Council, the first state-owned building in Maine to receive this honor.  2005

Hallowell City Hall Auditorium Restoration
Honor Award

Hallowell, Maine

Mallett Hall (Pownal Town Hall)
Honor Award

Pownal, Maine

Hallowell City Hall City Council Chambers
Honor Award

Hallowell, Maine

Greater Portland Landmarks Annual Awards

Merrill Memorial Library
Yarmouth, Maine

Rehabilitation Projects

City of Portland Historic Preservation Committee
Portland, Maine

For leadership in advocacy of Preservation Efforts (Nancy Barba was a founding member and served from 1990-1997)


Cathedral Church of St. Luke
Portland, Maine

Catherine Morrill Day Nursery

Recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts in a publication for its creative approach to universal accessibility.

Publications and Published Projects

Architectural Record, profile on Schools for the 21st Century including Brewster Hall, 2008

Green Source Magazine, “Solution of the Month,” (for Brewster Hall), David Sokul, February 2009

Design New England, November/December 2011, “Light House:  Two architects bring a respectful presence to the past in a vacation home with Down East sensibilities,” Gail Ravgiala.

Houses of God, Religious Architecture for a New Millennium, Michael J. Crosbie, Images Publishing, Australia, 2006

21st Century Houses, 150 of the World’s Best Houses,” Robyn Beaver, Images Publishing, Australia, 2010

21st Century Bars,   Edited by Andrew Hall, Images Publishing, Australia, 2010

Old-House Interiors, “A House for all Seasons,” Regina Cole, September/October 2007

Portland Monthly Magazine, “Tale of Two Styles,” Brad Favreau, April 2008

Fairview Cemetery Press:

Story segment on National Public Radio with Margot Adler, Fall 1996

Hartford Courant, “Village of the Dead Would Embrace Living,” D. Altimari, 1996

Boston Globe, “Cities Plot for New Cemetery Space,” April 10, 1997