Take Back the Streets (Part Deux): UBurger Faneuil Hall

UBurger-perspective

Proposed sidewalk cafe,  UBurger at Faneuil Hall – 16-18 North Street

UBurger-Existing

Existing sidewalk conditions at 16-18 North Street, adjacent to the Millennium Hotel at Faneuil Hall

It’s the first of June and time for our restaurant clients to get their sidewalk cafes up and running.  We’re delighted to have been invited by the Management Team at UBurger at Faneuil Hall to help design their new sidewalk cafe this spring and assist in renewing the establishment’s lease agreement with the City of Boston Public Improvement Commission and Department of Public Works.

New restaurant applicants in the City of Boston shall contact the City’s Public Improvement Commission (PIC) to initiate the application and approvals process for their sidewalk cafe.  For those taking over existing restaurant occupancies: 1) check your Common Victualler (CV) license to verify if you have been approved for outdoor seating, 2) determine if the previous establishment was issued a valid sidewalk cafe permit and agreement, and 3) if you have both, provide evidence of both documents and prepare a letter requesting the renewal of the permit.  Please consult with your licensed design professionals (e.g. engineers, landscape architects, and architects) for assistance in the design and permitting process.  Here’s to a spectacular outdoor dining season in Boston!

PLANTER DESIGN CONCEPT – Taking advantage of remaining interior metal siding material left over from the interior construction, we are re-purposing them into our sidewalk planters to help tie-in the sidewalk cafe into the overall interior architecture.  All DIY legwork, elbowgrease, haggling and heartache courtesy of Co-owner, George Gianarikas.

UBurger - planter concept

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Capacity Enhancement – Michael’s Deli of Coolidge Corner

homeimg4

What you see is what you get at Mike’s – image courtesy Michael’s Deli

For those who may not be familiar with the notorious “dining-in experience” at Mike’s Deli at 256 Harvard Street in Brookline, across the street from the Coolidge Corner T Station (hint – refer to the Yelp reviews of this place prior to May 2012…), this will soon be the stuff of urban legend and Brookline restaurant lore as we are delighted to be assisting the new management – led by hospitality veteran, Steven Peljovich – in updating the restaurant’s seating capacity this month.

We encourage restaurant operators to review occupancy permits prior to renewal to ensure that their businesses have the seating capacity that they are entitled to.  In permitting restaurants in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there is a confluence (and sometimes, confusion) of building codes and guidelines that affect the determination of the total allowable seating capacity in the customer dining area – including but not limited to 780 CMR – State Building Code (currently in its 8th Ed, with concurrence with the IBC), 521 CMR – State Accessibility Code (Massachusetts Architectural Access Board) and 248 CMR – Uniform State Plumbing Code.  In some municipalities, additional restaurant seating may also trigger an increase in off-street parking requirements.  When exploring seating changes, consider consulting your local design professional to identify and weigh the implications of your design alternatives.

Congratulations are in order to Steven and his team on their successful inaugural year here in Coolidge Corner.

256HAR-plan

Proposed Indoor Customer Seating Plan – 256 Harvard Street

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Greenovate Boston launched!

The City of Boston honored its 2013 Greenovate Award Winners yesterday and concurrently launched a new sustainability initiative.  Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s Greenovate Boston program is a comprehensive outreach and communications effort to make sustainability principles accessible to the Boston populace.  As the Mayor succinctly puts it:

“We have to make the sustainability issue understandable to everyone…I call it turning the science talk into sidewalk talk. We have to make this more explainable to the folks out in those neighborhoods.”

The objectives of this program are to:

  • Reach every Boston resident and business through its programming and outreach efforts, in order to have them understand how their individual actions affect a sustainable future for Boston.
  • Engage one-third of Boston residents to take one new, daily climate action per year, examples of which  include driving one day a week less, unplugging the television at night, or using cold water when doing laundry.
  • Engage businesses constituting one-third of Boston’s employees to form their own in-house sustainability teams, or to participate in existing sustainability initiatives.

In 2009, we were invited by the Boston Society of Architects and The Boston Business Journal to participate in a charette to explore the future of the Boston skyline.  At the time, we argued that the future of the Boston skyline may not necessarily be about “what” we add to it, but rather by how we enhance what is already there.  In this exploration – referred to as “Back Bay 2.0” – we explored the  greening and progressive rehabilitation of some of the extent structures in the Back Bay District, consisting of the venerable John Hancock Tower and the Prudential complex towers.  Our proposed additions to these towers envisaged a combination of wind farms, vertical hydroponic  agriculture, as well as new business incubator facilities.

Skyline-lowres

Skyline perspective – “Back Bay 2.0” redevelopment concept

This and other concepts for the re-imagination of the Boston skyline were shared on a NECN broadcast and a special edition of the Boston Business Journal in the fall of 2009.

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

The Biscayne Bird – a Seaplane Terminal for Watson Island


DT-main_airside_persp

DT-airside_elev

Dawntown Miami announced the results of their 2013 design competition last week for a forward-thinking landmark for the City of Miami.  Since 2008, Dawntown Miami has been hosting annual design competitions that facilitate a healthy dialogue about the City of Miami and its evolving urban condition.  Competition topics range from new ideas for metromover stations to sewer pump stations to a concept for a seaplane terminal.

DT-site

Site plan and perspectives – Watson Island

We participated in the Dawntown 2010 ideas competition for a new seaplane terminal on Watson Island – located along the Biscayne Bay across from downtown Miami.  Coincidentally, a new tunnel boring connection between the Island and the Port of Miami was completed last week.  Inspired by the unique vantage point of the Island (vis-à-vis the City) and its bio-diversity, our proposal, “The Biscayne Bird,” explores an architectural and urban design solution that both harmonizes with the site’s natural and man-made assets and stands alone as a distinctive public space to see and be seen.

DT-Diagrams

Diagrams

The Bird – a singular massing concept was deployed to optimize the use of the space-constrained site while giving the building its own unique waterfront presence.  The proposal seamlessly integrates public access to the waterfront with the operational requirements of a modern seaplane terminal.  The resultant form at once responds to the Biscayne Bay context while harmonizing with the natural open space that is an integral part of Watson Island. The design’s response to the operational and sustainability objectives raised by the competition resulted in a form evoking the spirit of the seagulls in the immediate area – connecting air, sea and land.

DT-sust_section

Building section illustrating sustainable design elements in the new seaplane terminal building

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Battery Conservancy Chair Design Competition Entry: A Seat for the Seasons

Battery-main_persp

Perspective – “Seat for the Seasons” outdoor seating prototype along the new Battery Green oval

Battery-sequence

Outdoor Seating Prototype – unfolding sequence

The Battery Conservancy in Lower Manhattan has announced the results of their 2012 Draw Up A Chair Competition.  The competition, launched last fall, seeks to identify a winning permanent outdoor chair design for Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, New York City.  According to the Conservancy website:

The design competition has three phases. The first phase is an open design competition. In the second phase, the jury will select Top Designs and Finalists, which will be featured online and on exhibition banners in the park. The Battery Conservancy will develop full-scale prototypes of the Finalists’ Designs and has been invited by Design Miami/ to exhibit these prototypes. In the third phase, the winner(s) will be awarded a cash prize and their designs will go into fabrication for use in the new Battery Green, a 3-acre oval at the park’s Broadway entrance, scheduled to open in 2014.

This is a great step forward in the post-Hurricane Sandy revival of the Lower Manhattan area.  Hearty congratulations to the Conservancy, the competition finalists and the top 50 designs.

Battery-board1

Draw Up a Chair Competition Board – “A Chair for the Seasons,” copyright Derrick Choi AIA & XChange Architects LLC

Battery-principles

Process book diagram of first principles – copyright Derrick Choi AIA & XChange Architects LLC

We have posted some of our studio’s ideas and one of the submission boards we prepared to the competition.

Entitled, “A Seat for the Seasons,” our concept for a seating prototype integrates the repurposed wood bench slat stock with a high-density polyethylene seating shell.  The end result is a new flexible outdoor furniture concept that would be comfortable, yet vastly reconfigurable for myriad Battery Green events and resilient enough to operate throughout the year in the Battery.

Battery-bush_persp

Perspective – chair prototype in its retracted setting & curvilinear configuration by the East Coast Memorial

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Greening our Buildings: one rejuvenated structure at a time

BTC-facebk

Construction progress at 40 Aspinwall Avenue – source: Brookline Teen Center Facebook site

On this Earth Day week, we are heartened to see the construction progress at the Brookline Teen Center project site in Brookline Village.  Designed by Studio MLA with Graham/Mues Inc. and being built by Kaplan Construction, the dramatic transformation of this 12,000 SF building – a former autobody shop located at 40 Aspinwall Avenue – is expected to be completed at the end of this summer.  We are ardent supporters of the idea that the “greenest” buildings are the ones already standing.  Existing buildings, like the structure being repurposed by the Brookline Teen Center, have the potential of enjoying great second acts.

450bway-exstg

View of existing building, 450 Broadway

In 2012, XChange Architects was retained by an early education client to prepare a feasibility analysis for the re-use of a 1950s-era industrial flex space building for an indoor children’s play gym.  The 14,000 SF facility, located in the Greater Boston area is an aggregation of 3 older structures built over the years.  Our redevelopment proposal is characterized by a dramatic, color-intensive exterior makeover, the raising of the rear building roof (to accommodate larger inflatables),  and new clerestory glazing around the largest warehouse volume to maximize ventilation and passive daylighting.

450bway-streetpersp

Perspective view of renovated building along Broadway

450bway-model04

Study Model

450bway-south_elev

 Proposed south elevation – 450 Broadway

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.