Thornton Academy News

Building Community: How Constantine Tsomides ’54 Cultivates Connection Through Architecture  

Constantine Tsomides has built a distinguished career in the planning and design of senior living facilities, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC’s), and educational and cultural facilities. He founded Tsomides Associates in 1980 and guided its growth to one of the most respected design firms in the Northeast. Taki, as he is well known, attended Bowdoin College (BA, arte cum laude) followed by graduate studies in architecture at Princeton (Princeton Scholar), Columbia (MArch), and Harvard Graduate Schools of Architecture and Design (MDes). While he has studied and interned under some of the most renowned architects of his time, Taki names his earliest influence as the City of Saco where he was raised, and Thornton where he was educated and served as president of his class.

Taki remembers Saco as the community that fostered his vision of the American way: full of opportunity and welcoming citizenry. He knew early on that he wanted to become an architect. “I had a deep appreciation for the people and environment around me, and strongly felt as though I could—and should—contribute,” he remembers. And contribute he has, receiving regional, national, and international attention, along with a host of prestigious design awards.

Project highlights include the recently completed Hillside Village CCRC, Keene, NH; Carleton-Willard Village, Bedford, MA; design award winning Cedars CCRC, Portland, ME; Newbury Court CCRC, Concord, MA; and The Moorings (Cadbury) at Lewes CCRC, DE. Taki believes that growing older makes us grow to value people, society, and the institutions that mold us, like our churches, synagogues, schools, and other community spaces. He is especially motivated by the work that his non-profit clients sponsor. “It is gratifying to design these projects as architecture provides a fidelity to a worthy purpose, and the opportunity to give back to the community.” 
Taki considers architecture “the mother of the arts,” exemplified by its axiom, “firmness, commodity, and delight.” He agrees with Winston Churchill, who famously said, “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us,” and feels that we still need to believe in and experience the beautiful in our lives, even at the age of 80 and above, when the elderly often welcome a new beginning as they continue to grow and evolve. 

exterior view of an activities center designed by Constantine Tsomides '54

His firm, which includes his wife and partner architect, Diana, has consistently refined their work to reflect environments, styles, and cultures of their sponsoring clients, many of whom are faith based. He looks forward to continuing his work and says, “retirement communities provide us with an opportunity to design a variety of building types.” He has harnessed his vision to create environments and spaces that foster the same sense of community that he felt growing up—no doubt shaping the lives of those who reside and work in his buildings. A well designed building he continues, “represents a symphonic composition of space and light and whose parts, exquisitely proportioned and finely detailed, transforms it from mere shelter into an artistic expression, stimulating the mind, elevating the spirit and nourishing the soul.” Portfolios of his projects are posted on his firm’s website:

Local projects include: Dyer Library-Saco Museum; The Cedars Campus, Portland; Bayview Heights Senior Apartments on top of Munjoy Hill, Portland; Ocean Front House, Grand Beach, Pine Point; Peaks Island Senior Housing & Health Clinic; The Paul Hazelton House Senior Housing Facility, Saco. Taki named it to honor Paul Hazelton, a Thornton Distinguished Alumnus, who recruited him to Bowdoin and served as his mentor.
New projects scheduled to commence construction in 2020 include clustered 3-BRM Senior Cottages at Carleton-Willard Village and continuing work for the recently completed Hillside Village CCRC.

Photos Courtesy of Tsomides Associates

Constantine Tsomides ‘54 received TA’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000.