New Fall Publications


BTW – September 2013 Issue

We’re delighted to be spreading the news that our Town of Brookline Economic Development Advisory Board colleague and long-time sustainability entrepreneur/innovator, Harold Simansky, continues to delve into new territories – this time into the world of publishing, where he has just unveiled the inaugural issue of BTW – BEHIND the WALLS.  The motivation behind BTW, according to Harold, is to make green design accessible to the everyday audience:

“For me, BTW is all about accessibility for the average homeowner, making sure that they understand that going green does not have to break the bank. In fact, it is often the most cost effective solution.” 

For more on BTW, please visit Harold Simansky’s website and blog – 360 Chestnut.

AHPP 15th

Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, 15th Edition.

In the hardbound category, Wiley has recently announced the November 2013 release of the AIA’s 15th Edition of the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP).  XChange Architects’ Derrick Choi AIA, had the privilege of collaborating on the redevelopment of the Handbook by serving as a member of the AIA’s steering committee for the 15th Edition.  The Handbook was first published in 1920 with the intent of articulating “how the architect must combine the skills of a professional, a businessman, and an artist.”  The upcoming edition – the first since the 14th edition in 2008 – will reflect a groundswell of change in our industry since the Great Recession.  To learn more about the 15th edition, please check out the AIA interview with the Executive Editor of the AHPP and small firm business planning expert, Prof. Rena M. Klein, FAIA.

Derrick Choi had the opportunity to reflect on the 2008 founding of XChange Architects while co-writing with Rena Klein a section in the Organizational Development Chapter of the AHPP on starting a firm, entitled:  “Entrepreneurial Practice: Starting an Architecture Firm.”

All images courtesy of publishers, Harold Simansky and Wiley.

New Work – Northern Trust Boston Offices


One International Place (right), Boston. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

XChange Architects is serving as Architect-of-Record on the expansion of the Northern Trust office interiors located in One International Place, in the Financial District of Downtown Boston.  We are collaborating on construction documents and permitting coordination with the design architect, Bryne Design LLC of Chicago | IL.  The local project team includes RDK Engineers (M|E|P) and Columbia Construction Company (General Contractor). Construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall.


New Work – Martha’s Vineyard Airport


We have been selected – as part of the JACOBS Team – by the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission to assist the Airport in executing aviation planning, design and construction phase services under the Airport’s Capital Improvement Plan for the fiscal years 2014 – 2017.

martha-s-vineyard-airport-code-mvy-men-s-t-shirt-black-solid-design_designMartha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY) is operated by the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission. The Airport provides air carrier and general aviation services to the island and is a vital link for island businesses. It is located on 675+ acres and is comprised of one FBO and more than 70 tenants who operate private businesses on leased airport property.  There are two active runways that serve Martha’s Vineyard Airport – Runway 6-24 and Runway 15-33.  The airport provides or is host to a variety of services: including airport management, aircraft parking, commercial service passenger terminal services, aircraft rental, flight training, aircraft charters, and aviation fueling.

Stay tuned for our developments with the JACOBS Team at MVY.

Bastille Day – Boston Style

Bastille-Day_2013Joyeux Le Quatorze Juillet!

For those who may have missed it, our friends and client at the French Cultural Center of Boston (aka: Alliance Francaise) celebrated French Independence in style (once again) this past Friday with their neighborhood-rocking 5-hour block party on Marlborough Street, in the heart of the Back Bay of Boston.  There’s nothing that rocks the Boston Brahmin neighborhood quite like the annual FCC-sponsored Bastille Day soiree featuring some of the best emerging talent in global Francophile music.

In 2010, we – in association with Hartnessvision of Cambridge | MA – prepared for the French Cultural Center (FCC) Executive staff and Board a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the FCC library into a state-of-the-art meeting and learning facility that helps further propel the FCC’s reputation as one of the leading French “e-libraries” outside of France.  Our design proposal, “L’Espace Portail” or “Gateway Space,” reconceives the library as a virtual information and social gateway to connect the FCC members in Boston with other global communities within the Alliance Francaise network and beyond.


Perspective – interior of proposed Young Adults room, French Cultural Center of Boston Library. Image courtesy Hartnessvision.


Partial elevation – external elevator concept study, French Cultural Center of Boston Library.

Key challenges for this design study included addressing Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB, 521 CMR) requirements to provide universal access to the public and educational facilities to literally broaden the FCC’s access to the Greater Boston Community, and vice-versa.  The transformation of the extant library facilities into a new and globally interconnected facility – both virtually and physically – is an important step for the FCC as it plans for its next century in its Charles Brigham-designed 1860s building.


Design Team:   Hartnessvision, XChange Architects

Cost Estimating:  Rider Levett Bucknall

Constructibility: Sleeping Dog Properties

All photos, images and drawings copyright Hartnessvision, French Cultural Center of Boston and XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Celebrating our first 5 years!

XCA Frontispiece

On this first of July, special thanks go out to our friends, family, collaborators and clients who have collectively made possible these first five years.

Our Clients:

@ Union Restaurant, Abu Dhabi Airports Company, Allston Village Main Streets, Big City / Patron’s Watering Hole, Town of Brookline, Brookline Winter’s Farmers Market, City of New York (Department of Buildings), Coolidge Corner Theater Foundation, Childrens Playhouse, Cupcake Battery, Town of Dedham, Diane von Furstenberg, French Cultural Center of Boston, NEXUS | The Green Roundtable (now the SPI), Kollel of Greater Boston, Kumon Learning Centers of Brookline & Needham, Leeder Management Company, Little Children Schoolhouse, Michael’s Deli, MIXX Frozen Yogurt Fenway, MJ Ready, Myung Dong First Avenue, Provincetown Municipal Airport, REIC, Refuge Cafe, UBurger, WiCH!T Sandwich and Yoki Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar.

Our Collaborators:

BLW Engineers, Blair Hines Design Associates, CRES LLC, David King Architects, Deerns Consulting Engineers, Evergreen Group, Ex Nihilo Studio, Hartnessvision, JACOBS, James Carr Architecture + Design,  L/R Construction, KDTurner Design, Klopfer Martin Design Group, Krefetz Law Firm, Lewis Lighting Design, Ricondo & Associates, Rider Levett Bucknall, R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, RJ Davisson + Associates, RM Klein Consulting, Roberto Farren Photography, Robert Wear R.A., Rolf Jensen Associates, RRC Engineering, Sam Zax Associates, Sleeping Dog Properties, Weidlinger Associates and VAV International.

Our Alumni and Past Interns:

Amanda Baker, Jonace Bascon, Wen-Feng Feng, David Giancarli, Lynn Hsu, and Nicole Marple.


Reprogramming the City

Tripod Mod - overview

“Tripod MOD(ule)” – Perspective view of the sidewalk shed system designed by XChange Architects; a finalist entry in the 2009 Urban Shed International Design Competition in New York City.

Scott Burnham’s exhibition – Reprogramming the City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure – showcasing over 20 provocative examples of imaginative re-use and re-purposing of urban infrastructure, opened last week at the BSA | Space – the Boston Society of Architect’s (BSA) new home at Atlantic Wharf.  The exhibition, which promises to “reveal the city as a creative platform for new approaches to urban design,” will be showing at the BSA | Space until the end of September this year.

As architects and urbanists engaged in the design challenges of the public realm, we are excited to see exhibitions and discussions such as the ones being facilitated at the BSA by Mr. Burnham and hope this generates more hearty discourse on the opportunities for revitalization, rehabilitation and re-imagination of the extant infrastructural systems in our global cities.

Over the years, our studio has explored similar themes of re-engaging extant infrastructure within our urban condition to identify unique ways to experience and re-think these systems.  From the everyday New York sidewalk construction scaffolding shed to a sidewalk planter box to an airport security fence, we believe that much of our pre-existing urban infrastructural conditions can be reconceived in profoundly impactful ways that can enhance sustainable practices, improve operations, and positively contribute to the pedestrian experience and design of our streetscapes.


PopUp Cafe – Perspective view of the retractable sidewalk cafe and planter system designed by XChange Architects in 2009.  The prototype was awarded a 2009 BSA Design Excellence Award for Unbuilt Architecture and a 2010 Washington DC AIA Chapter Unbuilt Award.


“Project Runway” – a regenerative airfield concept designed by XChange Architects.  The project is a jury selection in the WPA 2.0 Competition online gallery exhibition sponsored by UCLA’s UrbanLab.

All photos, drawings and images copyright XChange Architects LLC.

School’s Out – Construction’s In

DHS interior - FINAL

Perspective view – proposed interior, main Dedham High School entrance

DHS ext - exstg

Image – existing conditions: DHS main entrance. Image courtesy James Carr AIA

As the Massachusetts public school year is coming to an end, we are grateful for an exciting school year collaborating on design concepts for potential renovations at Dedham High School in Dedham | MA as a subconsultant to James Carr Architecture + Design in Cambridge, MA.  The existing high school building, built over 55 years ago,  may substantially benefit from modest upgrades that will improve way-finding, lighting, visibility, as well as access to multi-media information technology.  Using new trophy display glass partitions with integrated bench seating, the redesign seeks to transform the quotidien entrance into a unique gathering opportunity for the school community.

We are delighted to have had this opportunity to work on our first high school project (which is also our first collaborative effort with James Carr Architecture + Design) and are hopeful that the initial design charette concepts and planning recommendations will be reviewed favorably by the School Committee.

DHS exterior - FINAL

Perspective view – proposed Dedham High School exterior redevelopment concept

All photos, drawings and images copyright James Carr Architecture + Design and XChange Architects LLC.