News

Utile’s ongoing work with the I-195 District Commission in Providence, RI

Utile is serving as the on-call planning consultant for the I-195 District Commission in Providence, Rhode Island, the state-appointed authority responsible for the development of 21 parcels that were liberated by the relocation of the Interstate south of the Jewelry District in 2013. Utile’s role is to advise the Commission on development and urban design strategies to unify areas of the city previously divided by the highway, and attract new development and business opportunities to Downtown Providence.

The most recent phase of the District’s revitalization is the development of an innovative concession space on Parcel 42, intended to engage residents and energize the surrounding area. With Utile’s design guidance, the Commission has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for teams interested in designing, installing, and operating a concession area to activate this new open public space. Illustrating the RFP are conceptual designs of a restaurant pavilion developed by Utile, inspired by field trips to local pop-up brew pubs and restaurants to better understand dimensional, functional, and character issues.

Responses to the RFP are due on March 23, 2017, which can be found here.

Congratulations to Tim Love, FAIA!

We’re proud to announce that founding principal Tim Love is now a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA)! A comprehensive application submitted to the 2017 FAIA jury focused on Tim’s impactful contributions to the public realm and the social life of city neighborhoods as an architect and urban designer over the past 27 years. This extensive portfolio of accomplishments as a practitioner and educator was supplemented by the generous support of several of his peers, most notably Jim Collins of Payette, who served as Tim’s devoted and enthusiastic FAIA sponsor. Tim joins the ranks of just 3% of AIA members with FAIA distinction, who according to the AIA “have made significant contributions to the profession and society and who exemplify architectural excellence.”

Meet Utile’s New Associates

Utile is pleased to announce the 2017 promotions of (from left to right, top to bottom) Colin Kerr, Nick Buehrens, Maressa Perreault, Drew Kane, Chantel Kocher,  Jonathan Evans, and Eric Boatright to the Associate level. They join Meera Deean, who was promoted last year, and Brett Bentson, who is Associate Principal. We thank them for their dedication and contributions to the firm. Congratulations!

 

Progress on the JP Branch of the Boston Public Library addition

The modern glass entryway of the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library’s new addition glows in the foreground of the original historic 1911 building. Working for the Boston Public Facilities Department and the Boston Public Library, Utile designed the 2,500 square foot addition accommodating new meeting space and resources for the community, as well as the renovation of the existing historic structure. Construction continues in preparation for a spring opening.

Matthew Littell contributes to ArchitectureBoston’s latest issue

ArchitectureBoston’s recent issue, “Getting to Yes,” focuses on the Imagine Boston comprehensive plan’s targeted 53,000 new units of much-needed housing by 2030. Utile Principal Matthew Littell’s contributed article, “New family frames”, highlights the role of Accessory Dwelling Units (also known as “granny flats” or “in-law” apartments) in addressing the city’s housing crisis. Loosening the existing, antiquated restrictions on ADUs will create additional residential options, alleviating the reliance on new development to solve the housing deficit. Matthew writes, “Allowing homeowners more freedom to adapt their existing homes to changing needs can promote long-term occupancy and neighborhood stability.” You can read the full article here.

Construction continues at Utile and ACDC’s 88 Hudson St. in Boston

Utile, working with the non-profit Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC), is currently constructing 51 units of affordable housing at 88 Hudson St. in Boston, also known as Parcel 24 South. The six-story building includes a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom condominiums for working families earning 60 – 100% of the area median income. A new major public open space will be located on the north side of the building, with an intimate private green space to the south. This project is part of ACDC’s effort to increase the number of affordable housing units in Chinatown on land reclaimed from the Central Artery Big Dig. You can read more about this project at Banker & Tradesman.

Utile Case Study: Designing for the Public Sector

Proactive Practices has published a series of case studies as part of a three-year research project exploring how firms and nonprofits have built financially sustainable public interest design practices. The studies, produced by the Proactive Practices Research Collaborative and funded by the National Endowment of the Arts and PennDesign, describe in detail the business models, strategies, and “secret sauce” of ten selected firms to showcase what it takes to run a public interest design practice.

Utile: Designing for the Public Sector (Case Study No. 1) highlights Utile’s think tank approach and initial hyper-local focus to become a trusted expert for Boston public-sector clients, eventually expanding our focus to larger-scale and more complex public-realm projects. The study goes into detail about the founding philosophies of the firm, urban design proposals and projects that paved the way for future work, and specific projects that the firm has completed for the public sector.

Tim Love serves on AIA Portland Design Awards jury

Tim Love was one of three Boston-based architects selected to serve on the AIA Portland (Oregon) 2016 Architecture Awards jury, along with Beth Whittaker of Merge Architects and Marianna Ibañez of Ibañez Kim. The jury was held at the Boston Society of Architects in October. After making their choices, the jurors traveled to Portland in late November to announce the awards and provide commentary at the very Portlandia awards gala. Tim and his colleagues presented from a sofa and chairs and were backed up by Ural Thomas & the Pain, a highly energetic and talented local R&B group.

 

Weston approves Town Center Master Plan

The residents of Weston voted last week to approve funds for the improvements outlined in the Town Center Master Plan, created by Utile. The Plan will improve the appearance and safety of the Town Center by creating more continuous and ample sidewalks, safer crosswalks, and open space, thereby linking the historic Town Green to Weston’s commercial heart. You can read more about the vote here, and see details from the plan at www.westontowncenter.org.

 

Utile tours Assembly Row

Last Thursday, the City of Somerville Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development generously agreed to give Utile staff a walking tour of the mixed-use Assembly Row development in Somerville. George Proakis, the Director of Planning, presented the history, planning, and development of the 56-acre mixed-use district. Home to Partners HealthCare’s new massive corporate office complex, Assembly Row is one of the largest development projects in Massachusetts, and continues to grow with additional housing, retail, and hotel construction. The group concluded the tour at the American Fresh Brewhouse Beer Garden to enjoy some local craft Slumbrew beer.

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