Utile worked closely with ZUMIX, a youth-centered music non-profit, to design their new cultural and performance space in the old Engine 40 Firehouse in East Boston. The 1923 brick building had been empty and deteriorating for more than twenty years when ZUMIX and the East Boston Community Development Corporation teamed and were awarded development rights from the City of Boston. The new facility houses a large performance area on the ground floor, a radio station, a recording studio, music classrooms, and support spaces, and will greatly enhance both the capacity and profile of the organization. The project achieved LEED Gold certification, an effort lead by collaborator New Ecology, and will be a green-building demonstration project for other non-profits and the neighborhood of East Boston. The Boston Preservation Alliance honored Zumix with a 2010 Preservation Achievement Award for significant neighborhood rehabilitation.

The main ground floor level practice / performance space. Upstairs is offices and a lounge area for the students. The practice rooms, recording studio, and radio station–all in the basement level–include art from East Boston artists.

Bilingual graphics and signs, designed by Utile, explain the sustainable design measures. These graphics help the building’s users understand the “unseen” innovations of the renovation.

(All photos by Robert Knight.)

2010 Preservation Achievement Award for Significant Neighborhood Rehabilitation from The Boston Preservation Alliance

ZUMIX - triptych
ZUMIX - elevations
ZUMIX - diagrams
ZUMIX - faucet