Somerville Open Space Typologies

Working with the City of Somerville on its new Zoning Overhaul, Utile provided illustrative graphics that easily translate the code standards and make the ordinance clearer to read, understand, and ultimately ensure that it is more customer-friendly. Unique from most zoning codes, the City of Somerville is also regulating programmatic and design requirements for different types of open spaces. Utile has produced illustrative typologies that translate these requirements by producing caricatures of what such open spaces might look like, while still highlighting how program and design requirements might be incorporated.

2015-03-11_Pocket Park

2015-03-11_Pocket Park

2015-03-11_Pocket Park

2015-03-19_Public Common

Final piece installed at 22-26 West Broadway

The lobby stair was completed this week at Utile and Evergreen Property Group’s 22-26 West Broadway, marking the final piece of construction. The custom-designed stair, with white oak-clad treads and risers and a structural glass guardrail, connects the ground floor lobby to a larger shared library/lounge and outdoor courtyard on the second floor. The mixed-use building opened to its first residential tenants in May 2015 and is anticipating a summer opening for the ground floor restaurant.

West Broadway StairFront Exterior Perspective

Tactical Urbanism + The Lawn on D panel

Lawn on D Flyer

Utile’s Elizabeth Christoforetti joins a panel co-hosted by the BSLA Emerging Professionals Committee and the BSA Emerging Professional Network on Thursday, June 11th to discuss Tactical Urbanism + The Lawn on D. Boston’s Lawn on D is a three-acre temporary landscape adjacent to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) that hosts events, concerts, art installations, lawn games, open-air bar, and its famous lighted oval swings. Designed as an interim park to test programming ideas for the future expansion of the BCEC, The Lawn on D shares traits with projects under the tactical urbanism heading – short-term, low-cost solutions to facilitate future urban planning and development.

Elizabeth practices architecture and urban design at Utile and served as project manager and urban designer during the BCEC urban design process. She joins Sara Cohen, Senior Associate, Landscape Architect for Sasaki Associates and Beth Torrey, Director of Strategic Programming for The Lawn on D to discuss the planning and visualization involved in the creation of The Lawn on D.

Town Hall Meeting for East Anaheim Street Corridor Study

Utile and RSAUD recently facilitated the second Town Hall Meeting for the East Anaheim Street Corridor Study in Long Beach, California. The one-mile-long corridor along Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero Avenue is home to a rich range of businesses, including restaurants, retailers, and grocers, and is recognized as a center of the Cambodian community. The goal of this study is to enhance the identity of the corridor and help it achieve greater recognition as a regional destination through corridor-wide conceptual plans, best practices for storefront improvements, and design and signage guidelines for the district.

Anaheim Street Perspective

Anaheim Street Community Meeting

2015-03-11_Cambodia town_Base Map

Planning for a new Boston neighborhood at Beacon Yards

In his Boston Globe Opinion piece, “At Beacon Yards, here comes the neighborhood”, Dante Ramos writes about the future of Beacon Yards, a 60-acre former rail yard currently occupied by the 1-90 Allston interchange. Utile Principal and Northeastern University Associate Professor Tim Love’s graduate studio studied potential neighborhood redevelopment scenarios as a result of the planned MassDOT interchange restructure project. Ramos stresses the importance of planning for this unique opportunity to create a new Boston neighborhood, and suggests that independent input, such as the Northeastern studio proposals, can contribute to the transformation of Beacon Yards.

Olympics Aquatic Center- Joe PucciJoe Pucci, a student of the Northeastern graduate studio and former Utile co-op, proposed an Olympics Aquatics Center as part of the Beacon Yards plan.

Debate at UT’s Center for American Architecture & Design

Tim Love recently participated in a debate at the University of Texas Center for American Architecture & Design. Fiona Cousins, a Principal and Engineer at Arup, and Tim argued that “design is the prime mover of great design.” They were trounced by the team that argued against the assertion: Leslie Van Druzer, the Director of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia; and Nat Oppenheimer, Executive Vice President and Engineer at Robert Silman Associates. Poetics trumped pragmatism and data-driven rigor once again!

You can see photos from the debate here.

Debate Flyer


BSA Housing Urban Design Workshop organized by Tim Love

The Boston Society of Architects (BSA) hosted the final presentations of its Housing Urban Design Workshop yesterday evening, with a goal of generating new, inspiring thinking in urban workforce housing. Tim Love organized the workshops as 2015 BSA President. The three-day event called upon industry professionals to propose innovative concepts for workforce housing on the Dorchester Avenue corridor near Andrews MBTA station. This area was identified as a priority growth zone in Mayor Walsh’s housing plan for the City of Boston.

The four design teams were led by Brian Healy FAIA, Eric Höweler AIA, Beth Whittaker AIA, and Jessica Garnitz of the BSA Emerging Professionals Network.

Each team presented its design concept, followed by a review and discussion of the designs, their implications for the broader city, and how these concepts can inform Mayor Walsh’s housing plan.

The jury included:

  • Sheila Dillon, Chief of Housing and Director, Department of Neighborhood
  • Development, City of Boston
  • Daniel D’Oca, Partner, Interboro Partners; Design Critic, Urban Planning and
  • Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Tim Love AIA, Principal, Utile; Associate Professor, Northeastern University
  • Edward Nardi, President, Cresset Group
  • Nader Tehrani, Principal, NADAAA; Professor of Architecture, MIT

BSA model



Boston Complete Streets wins APA National Planning Award

Utile is honored to receive the American Planning Association’s 2015 National Planning Excellence Award for a Communications Initiative, for its collaboration with the Boston Transportation Department and Toole Design Group on the Boston Complete Streets Design Guidelines. This 270-page illustrated manual communicates Boston’s Complete Streets policies and technical content, and graphically depicts design interventions in an easy-to-understand format.

“This award validates our efforts to create a public face for Boston’s efforts to improve the quality of its urban streets,” said Utile’s Siqi Zhu, who served as Project Designer. “The impact of the Guidelines can only grow as it reaches more people.”

This APA Planning Excellence Award honors efforts to “tell the planning story” and increase awareness and understanding about the planning profession.


Michael LeBlanc on parametric thinking at MassArt’s lecture series

Utile Principal Michael LeBlanc spoke with students of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design as part of their Tuesday Talks lecture series this week on the topic of Parametric Thinking: Design Strategies for Market-Based Projects. His lecture focused on identifying the market-driven parameters and constraints inherent in profit driven projects and their successful conversion into meaningful design opportunities. These issues were analyzed through the careful evaluation of the Utile’s 248 Dorchester Avenue multifamily housing project which is currently in the early phases of design.

MassArt Tuesday Talks

Utile receives Out-of-the-Box Award for Boston Living with Water Competition

Utile’s Boston Living with Water team is excited to receive the single “Out-of-the-Box” award for our High Street City; (Gradually) Living with Water entry. The competition, launched by the City of Boston, Boston Harbor Association, Boston Redevelopment Authority, and Boston Society of Architects, called upon the international design community for solutions envisioning a more resilient, more sustainable, and more beautiful Boston adapted for end-of-the-century climate conditions and rising sea levels.

Our team’s entry focused on the 100 Acres section of Fort Point Channel District, representative of the large urban mixed-use redevelopment opportunities across Boston. Our phased approach involves two ground planes, changing in function in response to ongoing development and rising sea levels. You can read our full proposal here.

2015-02-12 Living with Water


Thanks to our Living with Water team:

Atelier Dreiseitl
BuroHappold Engineering
Lambert Advisory

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