The smallest branch of the Whole Foods empire opened yesterday morning in the St. Mary’s Commercial District in Brookline, Massachusetts. In replacing the old Johnnie’s Fresh Market, a neighborhood favorite (disclaimer: our previous studio was a mere 2 blocks away from the store), the new addition elicited a healthy debate about change, vibrancy, and the quality of community character in the commercial districts in Brookline. Whatever your opinion of WF may be, there is no question that the new store will generate considerable foot traffic to the area, which serves as a vital eastern gateway to the City of Boston – directly abutting Audubon Circle in the Fenway.
XChange Architects was invited by the Economic Development Department in the Town of Brookline in 2012 to assist in a concept-level urban design charette with commercial area stakeholders and the Brookline Chamber of Commerce to help imagine the possibilities to enhance the commercial vibrancy of the St. Mary District by rethinking existing streetscape elements: wayfinding components, street fixtures, storefront interfaces, edge conditions, and the inter-relationship between the Commercial District and the MBTA above-ground “T” station.
PUBLIC ART – a site art concept using colorful footprints to literally map pedestrian foot traffic to highlight the MBTA platform’s role as a bridge in this neighborhood
STOREFRONTS – a potential storefront renovation concept for The Wine Press
STREET FURNITURE – a concept to provide modular retractable street furniture to subdivide public and private sidewalk spaces along Beacon Street in order to activate the deep, underutilized sidewalks on Beacon Street.
MBTA SUBWAY PLATFORM INTEGRATION THROUGH SITE INSTALLATIONS – a series of landscape interventions and site art installations were explored to improve the metering and flow of T customers accessing the platform
Landscape Architect – Blair Hines Design Associates
All drawings, images, and photos are the copyright of Blair Hines Design Associates and XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise indicated.