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Earlier this summer, MBL CEO Gary Borisy snapped a shot of the newly painted rosettes on the facade of Lillie. Photo by Sally Casper

This summer, the facade of the Lillie building was treated to a facelift. While the red brick, concrete bands, and painted copper panels were cleaned, research was performed to determine the original intentions of the architect. Richard Cutler, the MBL’s director of facilities, thought the copper panels decorated with marine images may have originally been unpainted, and he and his team were prepared to restore them to their original state. However, it turns out they were intended to be painted from the start.

“The relief on the copper panels is now more prominent to the naked eye with a fresh coat of paint,” Cutler says. “Two things had changed over the years. There used to be four lights on the main entrance. We’re looking to restore that look. And changes to the windows had given the building a slightly different look. We made it better, in my opinion, by painting over the off-color window panels to match the rest of the paint.”

Lillie was built in 1924, and was originally called the Main Laboratory.  The director of the MBL at the time was Frank R. Lillie, for whom the building is now named.