Utile was recently selected to design the renovations and addition to the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library. The current building is a compact 1911 structure that was the first dedicated branch library in Boston. With the highest recent circulation among the city’s branch libraries, the building is in need of a little breathing room. The community planning process began on Wednesday, April 9. That first meeting was well attended, with an appearance from City Councilman Matt O’Malley and many members of the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Library.
Jamaica Plain Branch Library Community Meeting
Utile and Viet-AID to develop affordable housing in Dorchester
Utile is working with Viet-AID CDC on developing a mixed-use development in Four Corners. Viet-AID was recently approved for $14.5 million in project funding from the Massachusetts DHCD. The development will include 35 affordable units and 3,000 square feet of commercial space. Construction is planned to start by the end of the year.
Tim Love at Structures Congress 2014
Tim Love was the keynote speaker this past Saturday at Structures Congress 2014, the annual gathering of the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. His speech looked at Boston as a way to examine the challenges faced in cities by engineers, architects, and real estate developers. His talk explored the issues of air rights, oddly-shaped parcels, the interplay between new construction and historic buildings, and the role of restrictive regulations on structural framing solutions. He appealed to the structural engineers in the audience to use their knowledge to impact planning and development decisions much earlier in the design process.
Dudley Square Library Entry is up!
Construction is complete on the new marquee for the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library, and the sign is lit and active.
A clip of the marquee’s lighting transitions is below:
Utile goes to Haverhill
Last week, Michael LeBlanc was invited by Mayor Fiorentini of Haverhill to attend the annual State of the City Address. Much of the speech focused on the city’s real estate development momentum. In his address, Fiorentini recognized Utile and Niskanen Development for their proposal of a 54-unit mixed-use project on the Bradford side of the Merrimack River. This project will be the first under the city’s new zoning, which encourages multifamily and mixed-use development along the edges of the river previously used for industry. The full text of the address can be read online here (PDF).
ParkingPLUS in the Boston Globe
In an article today, Boston Globe columnist Paul McMorrow points to Utile’s ParkingPLUS prototype in Long Island as an example of how the suburban towns of Boston can embrace a modular, flexible approach to parking as a tool for unlocking development and tightening urban fabric. The column ends with a quote from Tim Love: “Once garages are out of the ground, they have a responsibility to be well-designed, just like any other building. They’re not a public utility. They’re public buildings.”
Foundations in West Broadway
Foundations are nearly complete at 22-26 West Broadway, and construction has begun on the concrete masonry stair and elevator core. The car elevator pit marks the last step before construction is officially out of the ground. The project incorporates 31 units of housing and 4,000 square feet of commercial space on a lot with only 50 feet of street frontage.
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.