Posts tagged with "Boston":

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Climate Profiles: Chris Reed, Stoss, and the future of Boston’s waterfront

In AN's new series of climate profiles, we will be learning from designers who are working to incorporate climate responsiveness in their work or have blazed the way for others in the field.  As this year's hurricane season reaches its third quarter, coastal and riverfront cities across the country are thinking more than ever about how to adapt urban landscapes to increasingly intense storm surge and sea level rise. Chris Reed, founding principal of Stoss and professor of landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), is particularly good at asking questions about these issues. While completing his undergraduate degree in urban history at Harvard College in the 1990s, Reed was exposed to a split in schools of thought among landscape architects: one approaching landscape at the scale of urban planning, another at the more traditional gardens and parks scale. James Corner, who at the time was beginning his own landscape practice, was someone Reed felt successfully merged the two. Reed sought to do the same. In 2001, after he completed a Master’s at the University of Pennsylvania, Reed’s firm Stoss was born out of a desire to create high-density urban environments thoroughly engaged with landscapes and environmental processes. Over nearly two decades, Stoss has completed riverfront designs for five cities across the globe (Shanghai, Green Bay, Minneapolis, Dallas, and London, Canada) as well as countless waterfront parks and public spaces. A 2011 profile of Reed in Places Journal noted that "stoss" is a German word that means "to kick, as in 'kick in the pants,' to initiative, activate." In Dallas, Stoss' Trinity Waterfront project innovatively addressed a vacant flood zone of land dividing the downtown area from Trinity River, which winds through the city. The city wanted to transform this zone into a new public space and economic boon to draw developers. While the city's RFP asked designers to connect the downtown area to the waterfront, Stoss expanded the landscape in two directions – extending fingers of the river and wetlands into the city, and likewise extending the city out into the flood zone. This is especially illustrative of Stoss' approach to adaptive water management. Even an open-air theater has the capacity to flood, diverting waters from the paved and developed areas beyond. The sports fields are flanked by bioswales, depressed areas that are designed to capture runoff. The resulting parklands are both densely urban and perform ecological functions. "The debate now has become not just how to incorporate environmental resilience into cities but also social resilience," Reed told AN. "The world is not the same as when I was in school. Now we have to ask questions like: what are the responsibilities of designers to address climate change, population growth, political shifts–and how have all of these things affected design?" Most recently, Stoss has worked on providing solutions to some of the climate-focused questions through a large-scale riverfront project in Boston. In January 2017, the City of Boston released a public RFP seeking design teams to realize elements of their Imagine Boston 2030 plan. A major part of the plan is riverfront development, both in terms of creating more effective storm-resistant infrastructure as well as in creating compelling public spaces. Stoss was an obvious firm to address the tasks at hand. Of the six neighborhoods identified in Imagine Boston 2030 for waterfront renewal, Stoss was selected to work on two: East Boston and Charlestown. In East Boston, the site runs roughly from around Falcon Street to Piers Park. The Charlestown stretch is still under wraps, with the entire waterfront owned by a single private entity. The focus for both will be on coastal flooding and sea level rise. To tackle these issues, Stoss partnered with Kleinfelder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the New York office of Dutch firm One Architecture. According to Stoss' Studio Manager Amy Whitesides, the project will occur in a layered approach at three different scales. The first, most local scale, will look at simple engineering solutions to flooding, common sense gray infrastructure that will prevent stormwater from rising up or scouring its way into the city's streetscape. An example of this would be a retrofit to the East Boston Greenway that would funnel water along the park's existing railway rather than letting it run off into adjacent neighborhoods. The second, intermediate scale will look at the landscape's existing and potential ecologies—including the redesign of Piers Park itself. The current plan is to take the land and raise it into a berm-like park, creating a barrier that will protect the Greenway and the residential areas while doubling as public space. The third scale looks at the waterfront as a whole from a developer's standpoint, asking which areas will require rezoning for designs to be effectively implemented, how to address private interest (as a good portion of the waterfront property included is privately owned), and perhaps most importantly: how will this all get paid for? The project takes inspiration from the same multi-scalar approach Reed discussed – territory-scale projects with a social bent. "I'm interested in projects that are more about setting up relationships between people rather than relying solely on form-based agendas," Reed told AN. "How do you have a conversation that might seek change?" In East Boston and Charlestown, these kind of conversations are well underway. The design team has held over fifty meetings with stakeholders ranging from Boston's Department of Parks and Recreation to private developers, held community workshops in all of the affected neighborhoods, and formed working partnerships with a number of local nonprofits to inform the design. According to Reed, it should be impossible to complete such large-scale designs with far-reaching impacts without forging local relationships. "Many cities across the U.S. are looking at profound issues of aging infrastructure," Reed said"With major riverfront projects like this, the changes made are often wrapped up in concerns about affordability." Reed referred to the fear of rent increases pushing out residents as new development moves into neighborhoods. "In dealing with climate change, the question becomes: how do we design for equity? How do we make for welcoming spaces?" Stoss will formally announce their design for the Imagine Boston 2030 plan in the coming weeks.
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Boston’s emerging designers get spotlight in design biennial

Winners of the fifth Design Biennial Boston can be viewed on The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in Boston. Aimed to celebrate and give exposure to up-and-coming architects and designers from the New England region, the Biennial is on view until October 18th. This year, it consists of four installations which vary in themes, materials and artistic style. In order to bring their ideas to life, Design Biennial Boston has provided each winning team with $10,000 and access to cutting-edge fabrication equipment provided by sponsor Autodesk BUILD Space. The four winning teams, selected among a pool of designers from New England, were called upon to create installations echoing the region’s unique qualities and reflecting on the Greenway’s Playful Perspectives theme. The works by Jennifer Bonner of MALL, Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy of DESIGN EARTH, Daniel Ibañez of Margen-Lab, and Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest of ULTRAMODERNE entertain ideas of rigid to free-flowing forms, local materials, economic trends, and global impacts all representative of the region. Another Axon by Jennifer Bonner of MALL (pictured above) is an installation comprised of a colorful array of twelve minimalist trees. A play on traditional architecture and design rendering, the installation uses common building materials such as vinyl siding, stucco, and artificial turf to challenge perceived building ideas. Primitive by Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest of ULTRAMODERNE is a geometric disposition of lines juxtaposed with rough materials: rugged cedar columns canopied with a thin aluminum shroud. The relationship between the shapes create an experience of existence within an abstracted, delicate grove. Blue Marble Circus by Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy of DESIGN EARTH is a spherical, plastic monument highlighting the correlation between humanity's actions and the degradation of the ecosystem. The installation, as the name suggests, is a deep-blue plastic sphere which through form, color and material refers to the iconic symbol of environmental awareness. Ways of Wood by Daniel Ibañez of MARGEN-LAB is a compilation of logs that serve as public seating. The logs draw a visual connection between different states in timber's industrial process, from raw material to its highly polished state as a designed object. The installation aims to initiate a conversation on North America’s timber extraction industry and serve as a reminder of the often forgotten natural source of timber.
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A new building for the nation’s oldest conservatory of music

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This week, the first building added in 60 years to New England Conservatory’s (NEC) historic Boston campus will open.  The new Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC) is a ten-story mixed-use structure offering over 250 residential units, along with space for dining and music-related preparatory work with a focus on collaborative research and experimentation. Ann Beha Architects (ABA) and Gensler designed and realized the building as a collaborative and integrated team—the two firms’ fourth collaboration.
  • Facade Manufacturer Centria (metal panels); Terreal North America (terra cotta)
  • Architects Ann Beha Architects (Design Architect); Gensler (Associate Architect and Architect of Record)
  • Facade Installer Tishman Construction Company/AECOM (construction manager)
  • Facade Consultants Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (envelope); LeMessurier Consultants (structural engineer)
  • Location Boston, MA
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System terra cotta tiles installed in a rainscreen assembly
  • Products NeXclad Classic 16” tile by Terreal North America, with Impressionist Series glazing from Ludowici
Both the design team and the Conservatory wanted the project to have a unique identity and distinctive expression. Sited in a historic context, the design team sought a traditional cladding material that expressed craft, sustainability, and durability. They prioritized a “handmade” aesthetic, ruling out the machine-like qualities of colored concrete panels, composite materials, and costly glass curtain wall systems. The exterior envelope ultimately featured a refined composition of variegated terra-cotta tiles, applied in mixed patterns, with broad glass expanses at street levels, and stainless steel screen cladding. Offset operable windows animate the upper floors, and north-facing open lounges offer expansive views of Boston. ABA turned to Ludowici, a terra-cotta manufacturer known for 19th century historic tile roof renovations. Its subsidiary, Terreal North America, engaged with the architecture team during the design process and produced samples for full-scale on-site studio mock-ups. The mock-ups became an integral part of the design process due to the custom nature of the tiles, their assembly system, and finish options, and helped to facilitate collaboration between the design team, client, and city oversight groups. “The idea of implementing this innovative facade was exciting for the Conservancy,” said Ann Beha, owner of ABA. “The fact that you couldn’t just go see something like this elsewhere meant that mockups were an essential part of the process.” The architecture team worked closely with Terreal North America to develop a gradient range of tiles that animate and anchor the building. Deep tones located at the base of the tower give way to lighter hues as the height increases. The challenge became how to achieve this effect within technical and budgetary constraints. The team worked with three glazes, each with a wide variety of coloration. Percentages of these mixes were then varied. The architects developed a “paint by number” style document to specify the final distribution across the facade, which the installer referenced on site. The unique color blends were created by a proprietary glazing process designed by Ludowici, referred to as their “Impressionist Series.” The process features a random multi-spray matte glaze application that creates a unique finish patterning on every tile. The colors chosen included Terra Cotta, Dark Terra Cotta, and a custom color. Distinguished from and responding to the terra-cotta tile, the facade of the performance center is marked by a 40-foot-tall metal screen mounted in front of the orchestra rehearsal room’s double-height facade. The installed Centria metal panels have a ridged profile that improves their structural capacity, and vertical shadow lines. The material clads a radiused steel frame, reading as a vertical curtain that peels away from the building envelope to reveal the school's performance spaces.
AN spoke to ABA about the composition and detailing of the facade, which is organized around variable window spacing that relates to the width of student dormitories. “We liked the idea of an inscribed horizontal line that acts visually as a datum that all of these shifting panels could relate to,” said Steve Gerrard, principal at ABA. “It becomes especially important where the windows increase in their frequency. The line is an important compositional tool to relate to each of the floors.” Beyond compositional refinement, the envelope's energy performance allowed for a reduction in HVAC system sizing. Beha said the durability and aesthetic quality of the tile rainscreen cladding was particularly successful. “We see concrete panel structures built all over Boston, and they seem to lose their color, and their quality, so fast. This will not.” Beha concluded, “For me, the painterly aspects of the result are consistent with the issue of urban identity and urban contribution. We wanted a facade worth looking at and considering, and one that brought NEC distinction, dissimilar from others, and enduring, simple, distinguished, in its own way.” ABA said the facade composition reflects the New England Conservatory’s own ambitions: creative, contemporary exploration that combines tradition and innovation. The project was dedicated in a ceremony on September 14th, 2017, and will open to the public the following week with a full day of programming involving performances and talks.
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These three new developments could reshape Harvard Square

On June 1, a few dozen Cambridge, Massachusetts, officials, business leaders, and other key figures in the area gathered around a breakfast spread in Parsnip, a tony neighborhood restaurant owned by the billionaire investor Gerald Chan. They were there to glimpse a long-awaited plan for another one of Chan’s properties, the long-vacant Harvard Square Theater at 10 Church Street. Anthony Galluccio, Chan’s attorney and the former mayor of Cambridge, unveiled a bold proposal to knock down the 82-year-old cinema and replace it with a 60,000-square-foot mixed-use building with two theaters below-grade, street-level retail, and five stories of office space.

Two renderings released to the public show a light-filled atrium enclosed by glass and visible from the street through a gap in the facade, which is composed of alternating bands of glass and textured cork-and-cement panels rising out like classical pilasters. The design, by architects Paulo Martins Barata and Luís Teixeira of the Portuguese firm Promontorio and Elizabeth Whittaker of Boston-based Merge Architects, “will be contemporary in its presence and identity, while remaining culturally respectful of the overall architectural language throughout Harvard Square,” according to a statement from Whittaker.

Chan’s plans for the cinema building were well-received, staking out a rare bit of common ground in the long-running and increasingly heated debate over the future of Harvard Square. The cinema is the latest and perhaps most striking change in a flurry of new development that will transform Harvard Square for good—and, some local activists fear, for the worse.

Although the cinema building dates to 1925, preservationists did not object to calls for its demolition. Charles Sullivan, executive director of the Cambridge Historical Commission, described it as a “big brick box” interrupting the flow of Church Street.

Not all the changes to the neighborhood, however, are being welcomed quite so warmly. Take the block enclosed by Brattle, Mt. Auburn, and John F. Kennedy Streets, for example. Developer Regency Centers owns three adjacent buildings on the site, and has plans to replace one with a new five-story structure. In addition to restoring the historic facade of the neighboring flatiron Abbott building, Regency would widen the retail footprint on site, replacing the “World’s Only Curious George Store” with a concourse and escalator at the head of the building’s prominent frontage onto Harvard Square.

Some worry the overhaul will amount to a glorified mall, attracting chain stores instead of locally owned businesses and turning the site’s back on the center of the square.

“This has been a longstanding issue in Harvard Square,” said Charles Sullivan of the Cambridge Historical Commission. As a practical matter, however, Sullivan said Regency is not calling for a mall, because all of the building’s stores would open onto the street, not an enclosed concourse. City officials are in discussions with the developer about how many stores would be allowed in the new building; current proposals range from five to nine.

Perhaps the most contentious property in Harvard Square is also its smallest. After three decades as an eclectic newsstand, a former subway-station headhouse at the heart of the square has become a stand-in for a broader debate about the character of the neighborhood. The Harvard Square Subway Kiosk was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, but its future remains unclear.

A $4.6 million renovation plan for the square initially called for the kiosk’s demolition, but last year Cambridge City Council launched a study to landmark the building in response to public outcry. A city-appointed committee evaluating options for the kiosk’s future had its first meeting in May.

Denise Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, would like to see the kiosk become a permanent showcase for area businesses, featuring wares from a rotating cast of small businesses in the neighborhood. That would mean the end of Out of Town News, the 500-square-foot kiosk’s current tenant, which Jillson derides as a purveyor of tobacco, lottery tickets, and pornography.

About 15 years ago, development in Harvard Square settled into a relative lull, said Sullivan. With several high-profile projects underway today, however, tensions run high once again.

“As real estate development waxes and wanes, the temperature of the discussion changes accordingly,” said Sullivan. “There probably have been dozens of watershed moments in the history of the Square. It’s always evolved.”

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Inflatables are having another moment, thanks to the BSA Space in Boston

There was a moment in the late 1960s when architects (almost always working in groups) wanted to literally lift their projects off the ground and allow them to float over the everyday landscape. Groups like Haus-Rucker-Co, the French Utopie group, and Ant Farm were all inspired by earlier experiments of Archigram, Cedric Price, Buckminster Fuller, and engineers like Frei Otto. Though these experiments were almost always created for gallery exhibitions or one-off installations (Ant Farm placed a large inflatable bubble at UC Berkeley to warn students about the dangers of pollution in 1970) these works continue to inspire architects and every decade they seem to get rediscovered by a new generation. A current exhibition The New Inflatable Moment at the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) is bringing the work back yet again and even cites a previous show, the 1998 exhibition and book The Inflatable Moment: Pneumatics and Protest in '68 by Marc Dessauce and The Architectural League of New York, for inspiration and precedent. The French historian of modernism Caroline Maniaque also wrote about inflatables in 2004 for a different generation. The BSA exhibition also highlights recent projects by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Grimshaw, Anish Kapoor/Arata Isozaki, the late Otto Piene, and Norman Foster. But the exhibit also includes even newer projects by Graham Stevens, Chico MacMurtrie, and Berlin’s raumlabor. The idea of these projects also includes an element of idealistic utopianism and there is nothing wrong, at the moment, with idealism in architecture. The show still has a few weeks to run (through September 30th) so if you're in Boston visit the BSA Space (290 Congress Street, Boston, MA, 02210). Admission is free. Opening hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays, and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekends and holidays.
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Abandoned building in Boston transformed into a site-specific art installation

An abandoned building in Allston, Boston has been transformed into an engaging art installation by two Baltimore-based artists, revealing the power of art in urban intervention.
The duo Jessie + Katey, formed by Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, created the mural as a part of a Harvard-based initiative called Zone 3. The initiative aims to further activate and energize the buildings along Western Avenue, which include a former dry cleaning facility and auto body garage, by implementing creative programs, events, and retail.
Jessie + Katey are known for creating large-scale public murals that look to engage the public with their socially active art. The entire building’s facade is painted with bold colors and sweeping patterns that curve around the edges, along with recycled materials like beer cans and bottle caps attached to the walls. The pair also held community events where the public was invited to create their own screen prints, which were eventually inscribed onto the walls. It took them nearly one month to complete the mural, which explores themes of movement and symmetry. The two artists have been creating colorful murals since 2011 and have been making an impression on the East Coast. Two years ago they were selected for the New York Department of Transportation’s 191st Tunnel Beautification Project and that same year they worked with Philadelphia’s Murals Arts Program when creating the 400-foot-long mural pop-up park: "Summer Kaleidoscope." In addition to this, Unterhalter and Truhn have residencies with The Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo, New York, The Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine and the John Micheal Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
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$1 billion redevelopment plan could remake the downtown of Somerville, Massachusetts

In Somerville, Massachusetts, a $1 billion redevelopment scheme in the city's Union Square neighborhood is edging closer to happening after Somerville's Board of Alderman waved through a rezoning plan. The 9–1 vote in favor of the plan last week was the result of three years of planning done by a special development team with the community. The 2.3 million-square-foot Union Square project, if fully approved, will bring 1.3 million square feet of new offices and civic facilities to the area as well as just over 100,000 square feet of public space. Twenty percent of the housing units built will be for families earning a low income, meanwhile, authorities estimate the scheme will see 5,000 permanent new jobs come to the area. Plans for a Green Line extension for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) are also in the works. The $2.3 billion project would link Union Square with the adjoining neighborhoods as well as the city of Boston, making Union Square the downtown of Somerville. “Union Square’s proximity to Kendall Square, MIT, and Harvard—one the densest innovation centers in the world—makes it poised for the next wave of economic growth,” said Greg Karczewski, president of Union Square Station Associates (US2), a development team built specifically for the Union Square Redevelopment Project. “We’re bringing 2.3 million square feet of new mixed-use, transit-oriented development to one of the hottest real estate markets.” For the Green Line extension to happen, US2 is providing $5.5 million in the form of a public benefits contribution and around 950 residences, all of which will supposedly result in new property tax growth. Now that the rezoning has been approved, US2 will present a development plan for Union Square to the community in the next few months. Jennifer Park, a resident of Union Square who has long been tracking the project, welcomes the development but is skeptical of what the final result will be. "They're really changing the look of Union Square. At community meetings there were lots of drawings of high buildings, but also lots of green space," she told The Architect's Newspaper. "As a resident and condo owner, I am happy that my property's value is going up." Park, though, also stressed that the feel of Union Square—with its diverse culture of ethnic restaurants and wide range of activities—should be preserved. "We do not want this to be like Kendall Square where the commercial development is dead at night. I am glad there is development here, but just so long as the community supports that development," Park added. The current schedule has construction starting in 2018 and the new Green Line station open and operational by 2021. The plan in full can be read here.
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OMA unveils sliced design for Boston Seaport

OMA's New York office has unveiled renderings for a 490,000-square-foot mixed-use retail and office project in Boston—OMA's first in the city. The project will be located in the Boston Seaport and is being backed by Massachusetts-based WS Development. The developer has coalesced around a number of esteemed firms, notably Sasaki, NADAAA, and James Corner Field Operations as the firm looks to invest in the area, plotting a wider 1.3 million-square-foot scheme. Officially known by its address at 88 Seaport, the project is set to offer a series of cascading terraces that form part of a dramatic, angled slice through the structure about a third of the way up. This cut-through transcends down from a mid-level balcony through the building towards the street corner, with its angularity encouraging views up and into the cantilevered structure. 88 Seaport is also orientated toward Boston's Fan Pier Green and the water’s edge, and while its windows are recessed, the render depicts floor-to-ceiling fenestration which will maximize views out. The building will rise to 18 floors and provide almost 425,000 square feet of office space. Meanwhile, 60,000 square feet will be designated for retail on the first two levels. Finally, 5,000 square feet will be allocated for civic and cultural use. Shohei Shigematsu, a partner at OMA who spearheads the firm's New York office, said in a press release that "[it’s] exciting to engage with the innovation migration to the Seaport District, and work with WS Development on a building positioned to be the nexus between historic Fort Point and the emerging waterfront developments. Our design for 88 Seaport slices the building into two volumes, creating distinct responses for each urban scale of old and new, while also accommodating diverse office typologies for diverse industries with demands for traditional and alternative floorplates. The slice also generates an opportunity to draw in the district’s public domains, linking the waterfront and Fan Pier Green with a continuous landscape." The project is expected to break ground next year with completion planned for 2020.
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SsD designs luminous, open interiors for Boston locations of Clover Food Lab

Cambridge, Massachusetts–based vegetarian fast food chain, Clover Food Lab, opened two new Boston locations last July by architecture firm SsD. The design of the locations, Boston Financial District and Longwood Medical and Academic Area, uses boundaries and light to emphasize Clover’s mission to promote transparency, simplicity, and community in the food industry.

“The boundary between ‘kitchen’ and the ‘customer’ is dissolved, allowing visual communication between the spaces while reflecting and multiplying light,” said architect Jinhee Park on the firm’s website. The space is open and bright, with simple finishes and bold signage, aiding in the layout’s legibility for customers.

Light fixtures are designed as art pieces, fulfilling their practical purpose while adding visual interest. A large wooden table, milled from a log, snakes through the space to add a warm natural touch to the minimalist design and provide an opportunity for communal dining experiences.

The new Financial District location is considered the brand’s Boston flagship location, able to seat 88 customers in the 2,300-square-foot space, plenty of room for the lunch rush.

Clover Food Lab 360 Longwood Avenue 160 Federal Street, Boston Architect: SsD

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David Manfredi on how democratic design principles shaped New Balance’s new headquarters

"Everybody values the opportunity to connect, it's changing the way we think about space," says David Manfredi, who is a co-founder of the Boston-based firm Elkus Manfredi Architects. His firm completed the New Balance headquarters, also in Boston, in 2015 and Manfredi this week spoke to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), discussing how democratic design principles such as openness and connectivity shape his approach to architecture.  When the owner of New Balance, Jim Davis, hired Elkus Manfredi Architects to design the shoe company's headquarters, he told the architects to visit an old textile mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts and report what they saw. There, David Manfredi encountered a four story high, 600-foot-long riverside former mill, now occupied by New Balance, who uses it as a factory. "It’s beautiful classic New England building," Manfredi told AN. (A short video on the building can be found below).  "We found this incredible work environment that was designed for all these people to sit at their machines," he continued. "What I really saw was that everything that we strive for in the modern workplace. [Jim Davis] wanted us to see the quality of the space, the high ceilings… and how open and collaborative the whole space was." The experience aligned with Manfredi's design ethos. At New Balance's headquarters, 650 people occupy the building yet there are only four private offices. "The historic traditional world of workspaces was related to stature. The boss’s room with a view, that’s all gone. We work now in environments where we now value connections to other people and not square footage," Manfredi argued. In addition to a new headquarters, Davis also wanted a new health and wellness district including offices, dwellings, wellness facilities and a world-class training center. "It's not just about making a building, it’s about creating a 360-degree environment," said Manfredi. The architect applied the same principles to address Davis' demands. Wellness (a topic that was featured in AN's recent print issue), openness, and connectivity all require the careful articulation of light, among other things. Apertures and openings, particularly in facade design, were crucial to these elements being successful. "We had to create a whole series of destinations, making sidewalks with uses that engage pedestrians, such as shops and usable open space where kids want to play."

"Our approach was that we wanted to be open, but this doesn't mean sprawling out with unnecessary surface parking," Manfredi added. "That way of thinking is in the past. Collaborating has changed, we achieve progress when connected, not in private. This is also a place for the next generation. Because of technology, we share everything online now—even my kids do it! My children and others won’t change when they get in the work workplace, they will expect to work in this environment of open innovation."

For this to happen, Manfredi argued that he had to "treat as much as the environment as publicly accessible, not trying to privatize, but instead to be democratic, so that spaces stay active past common hours of usage." An example of this can be seen with the Boston Warrior Ice Arena, where transparency facilitates a legible typological reading of the building. "How often to see an ice arena that has 40 feet of glass?" asked Manfredi. 

David Manfredi will be speaking at the upcoming Facades+ conference this June. There, he will discuss this project and others in greater detail. To find out more about the Facades+ Boston conference and register, visit facadesplus.com. Seating is limited.

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A quick and user-friendly glazing comfort tool

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Boston-based Payette recently unveiled a publicly available web-based tool that allows designers to evaluate glazing design and performance with respect to occupant thermal comfort. This Glazing and Winter Comfort Tool, developed by an in-house team of building scientists and designers, received an honorable mention at AIA's recent TAP/CAA (Technology in Practice) Innovation Awards.
  • Architects Payette
  • Team Involved Alejandra Menchaca, PhD, LEED AP – Senior Building Scientist / Associate; Lynn Petermann, AIA, LEED AP – Associate; Vera Baranova – Designer; Christopher Mackey – Building Scientist
  • Awards 2016 AIA TAP (Technology in Architectural Practice) Innovation
  • Location web-based
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System Envelope performance tool
  • Topics Practice-based Research;  Academic; Applied Technology Development
The project comes at a time of increased interest in facade transparency, energy efficiency, and occupant comfort. Alejandra Menchaca, senior building scientist / associate at Payette and lead researcher on the project, said the project was initiated as a response to the challenges of quantifying how glazing performance and geometry will affect the need for supplemental perimeter heating early in the design process. "What if the design team could understand, as early as schematics, which facade properties negatively or positively impact occupant comfort? What if there was a way to avoid the use of perimeter heat by selecting the right glazing geometry and performance?" To achieve this goal, the project team modeled the tool after existing scientific research, and the firm's experience with high-performance building design. The result is a simple interface that educates the design community on thermal discomfort during wintertime. The tool produces graphic charts and diagrams based on user-controlled variables such as facade geometry, glazing performance, target interior conditions. It also allows design concepts to be further optimized through advanced options that take into account specific details such as R-value of the facade walls, exterior air speed, and even the insulating value of occupants clothing. This array of variables can be saved as a “case” option and compared with two other configurations for analysis. Beyond this level of interactive design analysis, the tool educates designers on types of thermal discomfort among building occupants and provides links to further reference information. The tool was released in coordination with a firm-wide R&D showcase, which Payette described as a “behind-the-scenes” look at research and development processes and outcomes of our findings. In addition to their Winter Glazing and Comfort tool, the office shared models produced through their fabrication lab, advances in virtual reality, and additional building science research. Payette's office shared testimonials from design professionals testing out the tool during their showcase. "This helps me understand the trade-offs with fenestration quantity, configuration, glass lay-up (and ultimately, cost of the fenestration) with comfort for the occupants of the building," an engineer testing the tool said. "The graphic output is quickly understandable and conveys the important results to decision makers who may be unfamiliar with much of the conceptual underpinning but recognize that comfort is key to occupant satisfaction. Having this tool available imposes quantitative rigor on comfort, which combined with quantitative daylighting analysis leads to a rational basis for fenestration design.” The publicly accessible tool can be accessed on Payette's website here.
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New glass pavilion housing a Sephora opens next to Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Elkus Manfredi Architects' shiny new Sephora has claimed a coveted corner of the historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace, adding yet another style of architecture to downtown Boston. The 5,670-square-foot store sits on a triangular site in the northern corner of the marketplace along North Street, across from Boston’s Brutalist City Hall (1968) and facing the Greek Revival–styled Quincy Market (1826). The small glass pavilion’s transparency stands in stark contrast to the brick and concrete structures that surround it. With its fluid form and free flowing metal roof system, the project is unmistakably contemporary. “We feel that this 21st century transparent building not only highlights Sephora’s brand image, but allows the nearby historic 18th century Faneuil Hall and 19th century Quincy Market landmark buildings to shine,” said Howard Elkus, founding principal of Elkus Manfredi Architects, in a press release. The new store is part of a larger master plan proposed by Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation (AAC), which is striving to refresh the market and introduce more accessible programming to downtown Boston. The proposal met some controversy at first, as tenants feared they would be outbid by national chains and the market would lose the eclectic shopping for which it has become known. AAC explained that their hope is to provide new reasons for visitors to come to the market and not to rid if of its historic charm. “We are excited about the arrival of Sephora as it fills a void in the retail scene in downtown Boston,” said Joe O’Malley, general manager of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, in a press release. “Sephora brings a new type of consumer to the marketplace, one of many new initiatives in the near future.” As the master plan continues to transform the Marketplace, AAC aims to strike a balance between local businesses and national brands like Sephora and Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing brand who opened their Boston flagship store in Quincy Market in 2015. They hope this curated mix will help make Faneuil Hall Marketplace a year-round destination for tourists and locals alike.