Provincetown Airport Terminal Redevelopment selected for 2014 AIA Center for Emerging Professionals Annual Exhibition

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Submission board of the proposed replacement passenger terminal building concept at Provincetown Municipal Airport. Image copyright XChange Architects LLC and Hartnessvision LLC

Our design concept “Race Point Flyer,” a proposed redevelopment of the passenger terminal facilities at Provincetown Municipal Airport was recognized in the 2014 AIA Center for Emerging Professionals Annual Exhibition.  The exhibition at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., runs through the end of April.

New Work: Martha’s Vineyard Airport ARFF-SRE Facility

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The JACOBS | XChange Architects Team has been selected by the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission Designer Selection Committee to design the new integrated Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) and Snow Removal Equipment (SRE) facility intended to replace the airport’s existing post-war era building.  The design-only phase of the work will include preparing contract documents for the demolition of the existing ARFF/ SRE Building located adjacent to the airport’s General Aviation Building, relocation of an existing airfield lighting vault, and the construction of a new ARFF/SRE building at the same location.

The proposed new ARFF/SRE building is anticipated to provide additional space for offices, training/conference room, staff day room, sleeping and bathroom/shower facilities, kitchen, laundry room, extinguishing agent storage facility, vehicle maintenance areas, SRE & other airport equipment storage, vehicle washing bays, parking areas and other miscellaneous spaces.

The anticipated 12-month design phase of this project will be overseen by Daedalus Projects Inc., the Owner’s Project Representative for the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission.  Stay tuned for more updates on this project.

MVY ARFF on truck

All images, drawings and photographs courtesy Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission and the JACOBS | XChange Architects Team.

New Work: Barnstable Municipal Airport

Birdseye view rendering - illustrating new passenger terminal and parking facilities

Birdseye view rendering – new passenger terminal and parking facilities

XChange Architects, as a subconsultant to JACOBS, has been retained to provide A/E design assistance to Barnstable Municipal Airport for the maintenance and repair of the Airport’s passenger terminal facilities –  completed by Suffolk Construction in 2011 – the capstone of a $40 million airport improvement program.  The task order work will include baggage make-up area improvements, airside weather protection and fenestration improvements, and building life cycle management monitoring.  The work is eligible for funding under the MassDOT Airport Safety and Maintenance Program.

View of main terminal entrance & landside curb.  Image courtesy Barnstable Municipal Airport.

View of main terminal entrance & landside curb. Image courtesy Barnstable Municipal Airport.

Barnstable Municipal Airport, located in Hyannis, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, provides commercial and general aviation services to Boston and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.  The Airport also serves as the corporate headquarters for regional airline, Cape Air.  It is owned by the Town of Barnstable and managed by the Barnstable Municipal Airport Commission and its staff.  Today, the airport consists of a new 35,000 sq. ft. passenger terminal, a new 85 ft. air traffic control tower, a new aircraft ramp and a new vehicle access road—all opened at the end of 2011— extensive parking facilities, a rescue and maintenance building and an aircraft fuel farm. More than 40 private tenants lease hangar space on parts of the airport property.

All photos, images and drawings copyright Barnstable Municipal Airport and XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

New Work – Martha’s Vineyard Airport

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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.

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

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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.

CREDITS

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.

Reprogramming the City

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“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.

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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.

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“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

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Perspective view – proposed interior, main Dedham High School entrance

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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.

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Perspective view – proposed Dedham High School exterior redevelopment concept

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

Rethinking the Airport Passenger Experience – The BaltiCloud Terminal

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Perspective view of arrivals concourse level with “cloud” EFTE roof structure above – Riga Terminal design concept for AirBaltic Airlines.  Rendering courtesy of Hartnessvision, in collaboration with XChange Architects

As we kick off the busy summer travel season, we were interested to read Vanity Fair architecture contributor and former New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger’s observations of the modern passenger experience in today’s airports.  In a CNN article, entitled “Airports where the architecture soars, ” he laments that there really is no “there” in many of today’s passenger terminals; these proverbial 21st Century global gateways that (in many cases) now fill the role formerly held by the grand urban rail stations in welcoming arriving visitors.

Mr. Goldberger noted:

Where they exist at airports, the more impressive spaces are usually located in the airports’ departure halls. Those passengers are rushing to clear security and catch flights and don’t have time to appreciate their space. The arrivals hall usually doesn’t inspire much.

For baggage access reasons and the sad reality that most arriving passengers are generally motivated to get as far away from the airport as possible, it is not all that unusual to find arrivals halls – with baggage claim devices and customs screening facilities – located on the very bottom and being fairly uninspiring spaces to greet travelers into a city.  Many new airport passenger terminals are reconsidering this paradigm, both at airports with a large proportion of travelers ending their journey at the airport as well as those with a significant population of passengers connecting to other flights where the arriving “gateway” experience and the immigration / customs clearance process really matters and may affect passenger decisions when selecting air travel alternatives.

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Airside aerial of the proposed “BaltiCloud” Terminal, evening view with downtown Riga in the background.

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Preliminary geometric studies of the EFTE “cloud” roof in 3D Studio MAX.  Screenshots courtesy of Hartnessvision LLC.

In a joint effort to develop a new terminal design concept in collaboration with Hartnessvision LLC, for a new passenger terminal in Riga, Latvia, for their primary air carrier, AirBaltic, we chose to literally invert the sectional arrangement of the arrivals and departures flows as well as the way we conceive the roof of the passenger terminal building.  We were intrigued by the possibilities of an EFTE plastic membrane in offering a virtually roof-less airport experience.  Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, or EFTE, is a highly durable and tensile plastic membrane with a high range of temperature and climatic tolerance.  Made famous in the 2008 Water Cube pavillion in the Beijing Olympics, we believe very strongly in the possibilities of integrating this dynamic enclosure material to “dematerialize” the roof.

Our terminal design concept, which we refer to as the “BaltiCloud” –  a play on the Air Baltic identity and the notion of the building as a simple floating cloud – is characterized by 2 simple ideas of re-introducing passengers with the unique sensibilities of air travel:  first, the inversion of the arrivals (above) and departures (below) experience and second, the introduction of a simple, but multi-functional cloud roof serving to both eliminate the all-too-common dreary travel experience while using EFTE air pillows of varying opacity to serve as a way-finding device.

Without compromising functionality, safety, and operational excellence, we like to think that design is the glue that synthesizes all of the core elements that define successful, world-class transportation facilities.  These lines of enquiry provided us a vehicle to debate and rethink the airport passenger building type and most importantly, the potential re-imagination of the passenger air travel experience.

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Exploded axonometric view of the proposed terminal facilities – Riga International Airport, Latvia

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

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

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

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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.

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

The Biscayne Bird – a Seaplane Terminal for Watson Island


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Perspective view of renovated building along Broadway

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Study Model

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 Proposed south elevation – 450 Broadway

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

Springing Forward on Newbury Street (Part Deux): Diane von Furstenberg Boston

DVF - exteriorAs the Greater Boston area returns to normalcy, we are inspired by the resilience of the American people and reminded of the price of living in a free, democratic society.  With investigation scenes in Boston, Cambridge and Watertown scaling down, we encourage our friends and neighbors to take back our streets.  Please be advised that Newbury Street is open for business and hope indeed springs eternal here in the heart of the Back Bay.  Please consider (re)visiting some of our clients out there, including our first Newbury Street project – the DvF Boston store.

XChange Architects was invited to collaborate with Diane von Furstenberg Studio in 2010 on the design and construction administration of the first DvF store in New England at 73 Newbury Street.  Although an extensive corporate design standard was available, there were considerable challenges in applying them to a turn-of-the-century brownstone.  A range of custom design solutions – from unique universal access concepts to a considerable re-use of the existing HVAC system – resulted in the skillful merging of a contemporary design aesthetic with a New England flair.  We are most appreciative of the collaborative problem-solving spirit of our design team – including DvF’s New York City-based interior architecture team and R.G. Vanderweil Engineers – as well as our unflappable General Contractor, Sleeping Dog Properties.

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Interior view of the main retail bays, looking towards Newbury Street. Copyright Roberto Farren Photography, 2011.

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CREDITS

Photography:  Roberto Farren Photography

Design Lead:  David Del Villar, VP of Design and Construction – DvF Studio LP

General Contractor:  Sleeping Dog Properties, Inc.

M/E/P & FP:  R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, LLP

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

Take Back the Streets: Time to Renew Your Outdoor Seating Permits

OneFundFlag-smIn acknowledgement of the recent events in Boston, Cambridge, and Watertown, our thoughts go out to the affected and we owe a debt of gratitude to our region’s resilient citizenry, first-responders and law enforcement officials. Please consider making a contribution to the One Fund to aid those affected by the events of April 15, 2013 in Boston http://onefundboston.org/

The lock-down in the Greater Boston area was challenging, but proved to be a necessary inconvenience. Ironically, we were scheduled to meet with our client today, Yoki Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, in Central Square in the City of Cambridge, to update a sidewalk seating concept requiring approval by the Department of Public Works for the spring-summer outdoor seating season.

For our hospitality clients, please check with your local building and planning officials to confirm permitting requirements for outdoor restaurant seating.  The criteria may include service restrictions (especially with alcohol being served), seating requirements (typically limited by available restroom fixtures), structural and dimensional requirements for outdoor dividers, exterior signage, lighting, plantings and applicable insurance coverage.

Let’s take back our streets in the Greater Boston Area.

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An earlier outdoor seating concept for 485 Massachusetts Avenue

About the project – XChange Architects was invited by Yoki’s management team to develop a cost-effective design solution for their second restaurant that could 1) absorb the extant interior and building systems of a previous restaurant and 2) help develop a new visual and graphic identity that could be standardized and deployed in future roll-outs. The 3,000 SF interior renovation was completed in August 2012.

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View of main sake bar. Copyright Roberto Farren Photography, 2012

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Perspective view – Sushi Bar

CREDITS

Photography – Roberto Farren Photography

Electrical engineer – BLW Engineers, Inc.

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

Brookline’s Marathon Gateway: St. Mary’s

BM-3With the Boston Marathon less than 48 hours away, we are bracing for both the exhilaration and logistical insanity of the race on Monday.  One of the most intriguing aspects of the Marathon is its immediate and palpable urban intensity – transforming your everyday main street into the hub of the universe for a day.

One of our main corridors here in the Town of Brookline, Beacon Street, is one such destination along the Marathon route that becomes flooded with a sea of humanity on Marathon Monday.  As the final Brookline gateway before the final mile and a half of the Marathon, the St. Mary’s neighborhood, in particular, provides a uniquely dramatic backdrop for the final push: characterized by throngs of supporters (many from nearby Boston University) and the emergence of myriad large-scale graphics and banners, similar to the ones on the left and below at the St. Mary’s MBTA “T” stop.

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INSPIRATION – the supergraphic advertisement at the St. Mary’s T Stop during the 2012 Marathon.

Proposed - public artWe’ve always wondered if there was a way we could capture the excitement of Marathon Monday and somehow make it a permanent part of the urban fabric of this neighborhood.  The kinetic energy of movement – runners, cars, and trains – at St. Mary’s is a key design theme in our streetscape study for the Economic Development Department in the Town of Brookline.  In 2012, XChange Architects was invited to assist the Town Economic Development staff in a concept-level urban design charrette to help imagine the possibilities to enhance the commercial vibrancy of the St. Mary District by rethinking existing streetscape elements.

As a threshold between the Town of Brookline and the Fenway District  of Boston, we propose a public art installation for St. Mary’s in the form of a pair of large-scale directional signage that celebrates this sense of movement; borrowing from Fenway green while taking scalar clues from Marathon supergraphics.

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All photographs, images and drawings copyright Blair Hines Design Associates and XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Early Education in Brookline: Excellence – by Design

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Interior view of the new Pre-Kindergarten annex, Little Children Schoolhouse. Copyright Roberto Farren Photography, 2011

Education is one of the most sought-after products from the Town of Brookline.  From day care and early education facilities to the high school, we sweat the details here.  In the May 2013 Annual Town Meeting, the Department of Planning and Community Development will be seeking Town Meeting support on Warrant Article 18, which will amend current Brookline zoning for day cares to be in alignment with Massachusetts General Law.  In short, the proposed zoning amendment will bring the town’s Zoning By-Law into conformance with state regulations, provide appropriate review for child care facilities logistics (e.g. adequate drop-off and pick-up zones), and mitigate potential over-crowding of public parks and amenities.  We agree with the amendment to the zoning and agree that the quality of day care and early education could only improve with enhanced regulatory coordination and common-sense design and planning.  For more information on the Warrant Article 18, please refer to the Town of Brookline website – http://www.brooklinema.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=275&Itemid=270

In the Fall of 2011, we completed our first day care facility – a Pre-Kindergarten addition for Little Children Schoolhouse.  The project consists of a 900 SF gut interior redevelopment of an underutilized storage space.  Situated in a tight urban infill site on busy Washington Street in Brookline Village – abutted by commercial, mixed-use  neighbors on both sides and single family residences in the rear – daylighting was scarce.  As such, we took advantage of the available roofscape to bring in light as well as additional HVAC service into the new rear addition.

C:Documents and SettingsDerrick ChoiMy DocumentsMy DropboxLLatitudinal building section – through the skylight

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Site and Floor Plans – 306 Washington Street

CREDITS

Photography:  Roberto Farren Photography

General Contractor: PSC Contracting

Mechanical and Plumbing Engineering:  VAV International, Inc.

Electrical Engineering:  Sam Zax and Associates

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

Smallest Whole Foods Store Opens in Brookline: Saint Mary’s Re-imagined?

WF - opening weekendThe 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.

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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

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STOREFRONTS – a potential storefront renovation concept for The Wine Press

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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.

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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

Design Collaborator:

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.

Springing Forward on Newbury Street: Wich!t Sandwich

Newbury blizzardAfter a brutal 2013 Winter, we are more than ready for the return of Spring on Boston’s Newbury Street.  We are delighted to announce the completion of our latest restaurant design and the emergence of one of the newest culinary gems on Newbury – Wich!t Sandwich.  Formerly based in Lawrence, MA, the aunt & nephew management team of Rose and Chris Young have brought their craft sandwich savvy to the heart of Boston’s Back Bay.

With just about 1,000 sf of usable lease area, every square inch of this sandwich shop demanded a heightened attention to detail and a required a concerted effort to integrate the client’s vision with the operational directives of the kitchen coordinators and the realities of the building and the regulatory process (from the Back Bay Architectural Commission to the Boston Redevelopment Authority).  Wichit - Main elevationEach of these planning considerations provided the insights that led to design opportunities and ultimately, innovation.  The use of the extant brick party walls, stainless steel work stations and exposed conduits and junction boxes allowed the team to develop a concept that conformed with tight financial parameters without compromising the design vision to create an environment that celebrated the honesty of craft sandwich fabrication.

LEFT – main restaurant elevation, 244 Newbury Street.  Store branding, graphic design and signage concept by Brian Colcord

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View of the main service line.  Image courtesy Thrillist Boston.

Chef Chris Young envisioned an open kitchen concept that engaged customers immediately upon entering the store.  The decision to eschew wall partitions in the open plan resulted in a more open and inviting space for diners without compromising precious kitchen operating area.

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WICHIT-FINAL

Wichit-sign Wichit-dining

Check out both the hot and cool craft sandwiches at Wich!t at 244 Newbury Street (Fairfield and Newbury, next to Daisy Buchanan’s).  For more on the restaurant, go to the Thrillist Boston review in December 2012 – http://www.thrillist.com/eat/boston/ma/02116/back-bay/wicht_asian_catering_coffee-shop_delivery_healthy_lunch_sandwiches_african_feature/occasion_type/cu

CREDITS

Photography:  all images posted courtesy of Thrillist Boston

General Contractor:  The Evergreen Group, Inc.

M/E/P:  BLW Engineers, Inc.

Kitchen consultant:  Boston Showcase Company

Graphic Designer:  Brian Colcord

 

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

Coolidge Corner Theater Expansion: Connecting the Past, Present & Future

ClippingEarlier in March, The Coolidge Corner Theater Foundation (CCTF) announced their intention to expand their current facilities into an easement area and surface parking lot with portions of this area belonging to the Town of Brookline.  The CCTF will be seeking Town Meeting support in May to vote on a set of warrant articles that will allow the Coolidge to build on that easement and parking area at the rear of the theater, facing the Centre Street parking lot.  A Town vote in the affirmative will allow the CCTF and their consultants to conduct more detailed planning and design studies for a proposed rear theater expansion that will result in a third major auditorium at the Coolidge.  For more information on Warrant Articles 19-21, please refer to the Town of Brookline website – http://www.brooklinema.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=275&Itemid=270

Existing

View of the existing Coolidge Corner Theater alleyway which connects vibrant Harvard Street to the Centre Street surface parking facility.

During the observation of the 75th Anniversary of the Coolidge Corner Theater, the CCTF retained XChange Architects, through an invited competition in 2009, to further develop a weather protection canopy concept to activate the theater’s existing alleyway into a safe and inviting area for customer queueing.

IMG_2803

INSPIRATION: A view of the main cinema with the “Coolidge” logo cast onto the theater curtain.

Our concept envisages the canopy as a projection device that captures the movement of the sun throughout the day to create a dynamic and inviting public space.  The canopy features perforated metal screens on the underside that project shadows of the Coolidge logo onto the alleyway; resulting in serendipitous branding and place-making for the Coolidge.

CCT - seasonal diagram

Sectional diagrams illustrating typical seasonal canopy functional characteristics.

CCT - screen optionsmodel picCCT-detail axon

CCT - Final Ext Persp

Daytime view of proposed canopy, looking towards the Centre St. parking lot

CCT - Final Ext Persp Evening

Evening view under the proposed canopy,  looking towards Harvard Street

View 4 - combo-loresBirdeye view of the canopy connecting Harvard Street (left) and the Centre Street parking lot (right)

CREDITS:

Stephen Lew PE, Structural Engineer – Weidlinger Associates Inc.

 

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

Sequestration and the MA Transportation Bond Bill

Photo Oct 19, 12 23 20 PM copy

View of existing Administration and SRE Building, Beverly Municipal Airport

The automatic Federal budgetary cuts associated with Congressional Sequestration coupled with the ongoing uncertainty in the Massachusetts legislature over Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposed $19 billion dollar Transportation Bond Bill for overhauling the Commonwealth’s aging transportation network over the next decade will have an immediate, significant, and long-term impact to the Massachusetts aviation system – one of several key gateways to the New England region.

BVY addn persp - FINAL

Birdseye view of one of the potential SRE building expansion concepts

At the invitation of the on-call airport engineer, Jacobs Engineering, we recently assisted Beverly Municipal Airport – one of several MA airports that has been scheduled by the FAA to begin scaling down contract air traffic control tower operations in April as a result of the Sequester – in developing the project scope for a flexible and cost-effective adaptive re-use building expansion to enhance the Airport’s existing 1980s hybrid Administration and Snow Removal Equipment (SRE) Facility.

Model view - FINAL

Model: typical building expansion bay with rooftop PV array

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