Utile participates in Boston Design Week

This year’s Boston Design Week offers an exciting program of talks, films, tours, and other events covering a range of design topics throughout the city. Tickets have sold out for Utile’s presentation on the City Hall and Plaza master plan project, co-hosted with the City of Boston and the Boston Preservation Alliance. Click here to read more about “Form (Finally) Meets Function – Rethinking City Hall”, taking place on Tuesday April 5th at 6pm.

Boston Design Week

600 Harrison under construction

IMG_1350With the roof deck concrete poured, 600 Harrison Ave now rises to 70′ above the intersection with Malden St. in the South End. Construction commenced in January 2015,  replacing the site of an existing parking lot that formerly housed a lumber yard with direct water access to the South Bay. The above-ground building structure is a stud bearing wall system, supplemented by steel members to accommodate variations in the building’s geometry. Below, two levels of parking sit atop 150 concrete piles, driven up to 120′ below the lowest slab to reach bedrock.

600 Harrison Ave will open at the end of this summer, providing new residential and retail amenities to the neighborhood.

On the road with Imagine Boston

“‘If we cannot afford it now, how are we going to afford it later?'”

This week, Imagine Boston and Utile went to Dorchester to gather feedback from residents as part of an ongoing discussion on how to address Boston’s staggering growth and high housing costs. According to John Fitzgerald, deputy director of Imagine Boston 2030, residents’ top priorities include affordable housing, better transportation, and better education. Read more about the community meeting in the Dorchester Reporter.

imagine boston_dorchester

Rethinking the public meeting in Cambridge

Utile’s work with the Cambridge Community Development Department and Interboro Partners was recently mentioned in Rachel Kaufman’s article for Next City:

“Home to MIT, Harvard and Junior Mints, the city of 100,000 is spending the next year listening to citizens and community groups and aiming to hear from members of every community. City staffers are preparing to take meetings out of City Hall and into the streets. Their strategy — one that might even convince citizens that planning is fun — is ambitious and experimental, but so far, Cambridge thinks it’s getting it right.”

Read the article here.

cambridge residentsAbove: Cambridge residents draw their routes to work and mark what they like and would like to improve on engagement stations designed by Interboro Partners.

Taking action in Upham’s Corner


Utile has been working closely with Noah Hicks (back row, left), Historic Boston, Inc., and The American City Coalition to realize the revitalization of a long abandoned historic structure in Upham’s Corner.

Noah is the founder of the Bowdoin Bike School, a local community cycling organization. A lifelong Bostonian and Bowdoin-Geneva resident, Noah grew his early hobby of tinkering with bikes into a career as a bicycle mechanic and advocate for bicycle safety and equity. While the Bowdoin Bike School provides low­-cost repair services and free instruction, Noah’s new project, Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen, will be a mission-driven retail business, integrating a full service bike shop and cafe with a strong focus on local, community-based goods and services.

Sip & Spoke will bring additional services that encourage youth development, economic self-sufficiency, transit justice, and health equity to a permanent space on Columbia Road, a key transportation artery that is increasingly used by local and regional cyclists.  The historic structure at 611 Columbia Road  was built in 1912 for the streetcar system that once connected Boston’s neighborhoods. Its rehabilitation will be a huge asset to the community and provide a dynamic connection between the neighborhood’s past and its future. This project has strong and broad support from the Mayor of Boston and city agencies to neighborhood residents and the local and national biking community.

With construction financing in place through Historic Boston Incorporated, Noah is currently raising buildout, equipment, and start‐up costs for Sip & Spoke. From the beginning, this venture has benefited from a strong community. We encourage all to support Noah in reaching his fundraising goals.

Utile goes to Detroit

2016_01_27 Base Map_Context-01

Utile was thrilled to interview for the Detroit East Riverfront Framework Plan in Detroit, MI.  Among the 24 teams that submitted for the four hundred acre riverfront plan, Utile was one of seven that were chosen, including BJH Advisors in collaboration with  FXFOWLE, STOSS Landscape Urbanism with Studio Gang, Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism with Hood Studio, SOM with MDP-IHA and Mohsen Mostafavi, and Gensler with James Burnett. The jury was comprised of a nationally renowned panel including Maurice Cox, City of Detroit; William A. Gilchrist, City of New Orleans; Richard Hosey III, Hosey Development LLC; Jed Howbert, City of Detroit Office of the Mayor; Moddie Turay, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation; Mark Wallace, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and Dorothée Imbert, Knowlton School at Ohio State University. While the competition is stiff, Utile is excited to be a part of the process and the potential transformation of the Detroit waterfront.

Read more about the project in the Detroit Free Press and on Curbed.

2016-01-26 Jefferson Ave-02 axon lineup

Images from top to bottom: 1) The study area for Detroit’s East River is over two miles long and half a a mile deep. 2) The future Jefferson Avenue  3) One primary question is what building types are appropriate to district density.

Utile welcomes Nupoor Monani

IMG_0472_1-Nupoor-webNupoor Monani has joined Utile after receiving her Master of Architecture in Urban Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Since joining the firm, Nupoor has been primarily involved in visioning for Imagine Boston 2030, the City’s first comprehensive plan in nearly 50 years. “I’m excited to apply my design background to spatial planning projects at Utile, and to gain from the firm’s vast repository of knowledge and experience working in Greater Boston”, says Nupoor. Her past professional experience ranges from architectural design in her hometown Mumbai to teaching design studios, most recently for the Career Discovery program at Harvard GSD. We welcome her to the Utile team!

Lighting Boston City Hall

City Hall Exterior Lighting 01-14-16


Utile’s work for the lighting of Boston City Hall was recently featured in the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. Developed with with Lam Partners and WSP/Parsons Brinkerhoff, Utile’s plan uses LED technology to restore the building’s original design intent while meeting the City’s sustainability goals. The new scheme will remove the unsightly flood lights that have been added to the building over the years, and will make City Hall Plaza a more vibrant, safe, and welcoming space at the city’s civic heart.

Utile’s newest designer: Angela Lufkin

Angela LufkinUtile is happy to welcome its newest architectural and urban designer, Angela Lufkin, who recently graduated summa cum laude with a BSD in Architecture from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was awarded The Design School’s prestigious Sean Murphy Travel Prize, which sponsored a summer of independent travel through Japan. Angela is motivated by the shifting role of architecture and urbanism in response to the digital realm and increasingly rapid technological advancement. She believes that “with so many lines blurring inside (and outside) of the discipline, this is one of those particularly powerful times to be engaged in the future of the built environment.” Her multi-faceted skillset has already proven to be a beneficial asset to Utile!

Utile’s Matthew Littell and Imagine Boston’s Sara Myerson kick off NEU Open Classroom Series

Northeastern University’s Myra Kraft Open Classroom will spend the semester-long lecture series focusing on Imagine Boston 2030 and the issues that will be addressed by Boston’s first citywide plan in fifty years. To kick off the series, Utile principal Matthew Littell and Imagine Boston 2030 Executive Director Sara Myerson presented on the work Imagine Boston has done to date. They were joined by Anthony Flint of the Lincoln Land Institute, and David Luberoff of Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs moderated a lively discussion.

The weekly panel discussions are free and open to the public, and feature a who’s-who of Boston area thought-leaders. On March 2nd Utile principalTim Love and the City of Boston’s Chief of Streets Chris Osgood will talk about enhancing the public realm. Check out the full schedule!

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