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.

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.

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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.