Utile recently celebrated the groundbreaking for the addition and renovation of the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library, an ongoing project with the Boston Public Facilities Department and the Boston Public Library. The 2,500 square feet of new construction includes a reading room facing South Street to engage the community, while the existing 1911 building undergoes updates to its program, accessibility, and energy systems. John Hailer, interim chairman of the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees, says “this neighborhood has changed dramatically, and now this library will transform with the neighborhood.” The library is scheduled to reopen by the summer of 2017.
Groundbreaking ceremony at the JP Branch of the Boston Public Library
Charlotte Lipschitz joins Utile
Charlotte is the newest member of our team! She will work on both architectural and urban design projects, given her ability to think and design across a wide range of scales. She received a Master in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in May and has a degree in Economics and Public Policy from Brown University. Charlotte believes “that design can actually generate productive and place-specific development so that people and institutions have something real to grab onto and call their own”. Welcome, Charlotte!
Construction progress at Metromark Apartments in Jamaica Plain
Construction is underway at Metromark Apartments in Jamaica Plain, a 283-unit mixed-use development for The Brennan Group and John M. Corcoran Company, with wood framing nearing completion at Building A (pictured above). The concrete and steel podium construction is in progress at Building B, above which wood framing will begin in the upcoming weeks.
As a moderate market rate project, Metromark is the only one of its kind in the City. The project not only leverages the proximity of public transportation, but will become an anchor in an area previously without sidewalk activation or a clear sense of place. With the recent removal of the Casey overpass, the project provides the critical “stepping stone” to restoring continuity along Washington Street.
The development team is targeting initial occupancy beginning in summer 2016 and final completion in early spring 2017. Metromark features ground level retail, extensive roof decks, and amenity spaces, and is conveniently located adjacent to the Forest Hills MBTA station as well as some of Boston’s largest green spaces.
Utile welcomes Sara Al-Otaibi!
Say hello to Sara, Utile’s newest architectural and interior designer. Born in Virginia and raised in Bahrain, Sara received her Master of Architecture with distinction and her Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a Minor in Art and Design from Northeastern University. She will be involved in all phases of interior architecture projects, from concept to full execution, and completing extensive product research on finishes, lighting, and furniture. Sara says, “I truly believe my surroundings to be the ultimate classroom, and enjoy solving real-world problems using design as a tool to innovate new interactions with our environments and one another.” We are thrilled to put her design talents and sensibilities to work!
The Architect’s Newspaper Studio Visit with Utile
Utile was a recent stop for The Architect’s Newspaper Studio Visit, a regular feature focused on emerging design firms. During the office tour, writer Christine Cipriani sat down with founding principal Tim Love to discuss the studio culture, the rich diversity of the projects, and the origins of the firm. Four project case studies were highlighted to demonstrate Utile’s range of interests and clients. The full article can be found here.
BostInno tours the Utile office!
Nick DeLuca of BostInno visited Utile’s office last week to speak with principal Matthew Littell, who discussed the office’s move last fall to Kingston Street. Nick’s piece highlighted the “Utile City” graphic in the office entryway, which imagines the firm’s recent planning and architecture projects scattered across a cityscape resembling Boston, a visual effect that Matthew noted “is almost like a SimCity video game meets Richard Scarry.”
Thoughts on Widett Circle planning for The Boston Globe
Tim Love urges future use planning for Boston’s Widett Circle in his opinion piece “Preserve Widett Circle’s industrial legacy” for The Boston Globe, in the wake of attention turned toward the district during the polarizing Boston 2024 Olympic bid process. An option for the area presented by Tim includes the development of a unique mixed-use district that utilizes its existing industrial character and transportation infrastructure. You can read the full article here.
Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion receives IAA 2015 honorable mention
Interactive visualization featured in Boston Globe
The interactive visualization work of Daniel Hartman – a student of Siqi Zhu‘s in the Information Design and Visualization MFA program at Northeastern University – was featured in The Boston Globe’s Business section on Sunday. Hartman’s research graphicizes the persistent housing and income disparities in Boston, highlighting in particular the lack of public transportation in the most poverty-stricken communities. “‘The system is set up for people traveling downtown,’ said Zhu, who is also an urban planner at the Boston firm Utile. ‘That’s a very white-collar conception of home-to-work.’”
Interactive visualization of information increasingly drives the analysis and storytelling underlying complex urban planning projects. Most recently, Utile led a similar effort to produce information graphics for the Go Boston 2030 plan, which helped to distill, clarify, and communicate to a wide public the complex mobility needs of Boston.
The full article can be found here.
Groundbreaking at VietAID’s Upper Washington in Dorchester
Utile helped celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony of VietAID’s Upper Washington Development, featuring remarks from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as well as other elected officials, project financial supporters, and community stakeholders. The mixed-use project features 35 affordable units as well as 3,000 square feet of commercial space and community use space. Located in the Four Corners section of Dorchester, the project aims to strengthen revitalization efforts in the area by developing underutilized land into much needed family-style apartments and public amenities. The project is being built by Nauset Construction and is expected to be complete in May 2016.