Tim Love interviewed in Boston Home Magazine
Tim Love was interviewed in the most recent edition of Boston Home Magazine about his role as president-elect of the Boston Society of Architects. He spoke about the need for architects to think more pragmatically about their part in framing the future of the city, and hopes to involve the BSA more actively in that process. He also discussed Utile’s Civic Arches proposal as an example of a project integrating architecture, design, and planning.
Mattahunt Elementary School in the news
The Mattahunt Elementary School project in Mattapan, MA was recently featured in both High Profile Magazine and Metal Architecture. The project features a system of Dri-Design panels, which replaced an existing system that had deteriorated. The playful curtain wall composition and a new color scheme for the interiors enhance the environment for learning. The project has also led to a 30% reduction in energy needed for heating and cooling.
Matthew Littell on SEGD Jury
Matthew Littell is serving on the jury for the 2014 SEGD Global Design Awards. The Society for Experiential Graphic Design promotes high-quality design and research, and encourages the creation of wayfinding systems, signage, information graphics, and public installations. The categories for this award range from projects involving single residential apartments to large-scale conceptual master plans. Utile is very excited for Matthew to contribute to this awards process.
ParkingPLUS in the news!
Our ParkingPLUS design challenge submission, “Civic Arches,” has continued to receive press coverage, including a recent post for The Atlantic Cities, by Anthony Flint:
In an interesting twist and a nod to the evolutionary, the parking garage submitted by Boston-based Utile Inc. for Rockville Centre was inspired by WPA-era projects as a piece of flexible urban infrastructure, with future non-parking related uses built into the design, through the floor plates, structural columns and even the taller ceiling height of the parking levels.
Other press coverage includes:
600 Harrison approved by BRA Board
600 Harrison Avenue, a new mixed-use 163-apartment building in the South End, recently received approval from the BRA Board. The project will include 3,600 square feet of retail space and 21 affordable units. Developer Peter Roth of New Atlantic said, “It’s going to replace a surface parking lot with some much-needed housing, [and] some great retail space that will activate the corner.”
Read more about the project on the WGBH website and on Curbed Boston.
Utile was one of four firms selected through a national selection process to design an innovative parking structure for a Long Island downtown. Utile’s design – entitled “Civic Arches” – proposes a parking structure that is a robust and flexible piece of civic infrastructure. The prototype garage anticipates future non-parking uses with flat floor plates, a flexible column grid, and a stiffer and higher-capacity structural system. Utile’s full submission for the design challenge can be found here.
Utile looked at WPA-era infrastructure and architecture for inspiration (and has detailed these ideas in an entry in the Utile Design Blog). Utile tested the prototype on three sites in Rockville Centre to understand how the prototype could fit into the tight-knit context of a walkable downtown. The proposals by Utile, LTL, Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design, and DUB Studios, the other participating firms, were unveiled at a press conference in Garden City, Long Island, on January 16th. The design challenge was organized by the Long Island Index and its online publication, Build a Better Burb. The Long Island Index is a project of the Rauch Foundation.
Long Beach Visioning Study continues
Utile and RSAUD are collaborating on a visioning study for Broadway in Long Beach, California. This stretch of Broadway, which spans from Alamitos to Redondo, crosses at least four distinct neighborhoods. It includes a range of housing, from single-family bungalows to multifamily rental buildings, and business types. In mid-December RSAUD/Utile presented at a public meeting hosted by the office of City Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal. The design team proposed narrowing the street from four lanes to three lanes and adding a slight “chicane” in the road in select places. This has multiple benefits: traffic calming, additional public space on the sidewalks, and shorter–and safer–crossings for pedestrians. In addition, there is the possibility of increasing parking by introducing angled parking. A lively discussion, with both private citizens and City officials contributing, ensued about public safety and improving the life of the street. Now, RSAUD/Utile is further developing the vision for Broadway, taking into consideration the thoughtful comments from the public meeting.
The proposed street redesign at Broadway and Falcon.
Before and after views of Broadway near Falcon.
Utile begins South Station/USPS Master Plan
Utile has been awarded a contract with the Boston Redevelopment Authority to develop a master plan for the South Station / USPS area and an amendment to the Fort Point Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan. As part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) larger expansion project for South Station, Utile will combine its urban design expertise with economic and regulatory analysis to create a plan that highlights the public realm and makes the surrounding area a more vibrant urban destination. Utile will build on its experience working on Boston’s Downtown Waterfront Planning Initiative to conduct a robust outreach process, and will collaborate closely with the MassDOT South Station Expansion team throughout the process. Partnering with Utile for this project are Durand & Anastas for harbor planning and regulatory consulting, Byrne McKinney & Associates for real estate development and financing, Noble & Wickersham for land use and legal analysis, Nelson\Nygaard for multimodal transportation planning, and Norris & Norris for water transportation.
Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion tops Fabrikator Favorites of 2013
The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion tops the 2013 list of “Fabrikator Favorites.” Fabrikator is a column and blog edited by The Architect’s Newspaper that focuses on the role of digital modeling and fabrication technologies in the design and construction of notable works of architecture.
Research Studios on Urban Health Care and Urban Manufacturing Districts
Matthew Littell and Tim Love each taught a graduate research studio at Northeastern University this past fall. Matthew’s research initiative, entitled “Innovation in Urban Health Care,” analyzed the architectural and planning implications of changes to America’s health care system from the Affordable Health Care act, and explored the emerging role of national retail pharmacy companies as health care providers in urban neighborhoods. CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic division acted as an advisor to the class. The complete studio publication can be read here.
Tim Love’s students focused on aging urban manufacturing districts. His students went on field trips to existing successful manufacturing businesses in the Boston metropolitan area to understand why some companies prefer to operate in dense relatively high value urban neighborhoods rather than suburban industrial parks. As a result of the research, the students made a strong case for the role of the architect as part of the cross-disciplinary team of experts that must figure out how to preserve appropriate manufacturing businesses and jobs in American cities. The complete studio publication can be read here.