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.
Planning for a new Boston neighborhood at Beacon Yards
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Thanks to our Living with Water team:
“After Empirical Urbanism” Symposium at University of Toronto
Tim Love, AIA, Associate Professor at Northeastern University and Principal of Utile, is joining a panel at After Empirical Urbanism, a symposium at University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. In “Leveraging the Marketplace”, Tim contributes to the panel a discussion of recent Utile projects including parking garage concepts developed for the Long Island Index and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, a master plan for the Hull, Massachusetts waterfront, and a new rowhouse district in Hartford, Connecticut. The symposium is scheduled for February 27th and 28th, 2015.
Ongoing planning for Boston City Hall Plaza’s revitalization
Photos of Utile’s new office
Photographer Gustav Hoiland braved the cold to shoot Utile’s new space at 115 Kingston Street in Downtown Boston. Here are a few of our favorite photos.