New Work: Kumon Center of Needham

119 Chapel persp view - classroom

Interior perspective – proposed main classroom, Kumon of Needham.

XChange Architects is designing the new home of the Kumon Learning Center of Needham | MA.  After a lengthy site selection process, conducted with the assistance of Cullinane Real Estate Services LLC, a prime storefront location on Chapel Street was identified in the heart of Downtown Needham, directly across from Town Hall.  The proposed change of use was unanimously approved by the Town of Needham Planning Board on November 19, 2013.

Providing unique, individualized instruction for math and reading skills for K-12 students, Kumon is helping millions of children in 47 countries and regions on six continents.  Construction for the new Kumon of Needham is scheduled to be completed in early 2014; coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Kumon method.    

Kumon Logo - White1_full

All photos, logos, images and drawings copyright Kumon and XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

New Work – Northern Trust Boston Offices

Internationalplace-wiki

One International Place (right), Boston. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

XChange Architects is serving as Architect-of-Record on the expansion of the Northern Trust office interiors located in One International Place, in the Financial District of Downtown Boston.  We are collaborating on construction documents and permitting coordination with the design architect, Bryne Design LLC of Chicago | IL.  The local project team includes RDK Engineers (M|E|P) and Columbia Construction Company (General Contractor). Construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall.

NT-horiz

Bastille Day – Boston Style

Bastille-Day_2013Joyeux Le Quatorze Juillet!

For those who may have missed it, our friends and client at the French Cultural Center of Boston (aka: Alliance Francaise) celebrated French Independence in style (once again) this past Friday with their neighborhood-rocking 5-hour block party on Marlborough Street, in the heart of the Back Bay of Boston.  There’s nothing that rocks the Boston Brahmin neighborhood quite like the annual FCC-sponsored Bastille Day soiree featuring some of the best emerging talent in global Francophile music.

In 2010, we – in association with Hartnessvision of Cambridge | MA – prepared for the French Cultural Center (FCC) Executive staff and Board a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the FCC library into a state-of-the-art meeting and learning facility that helps further propel the FCC’s reputation as one of the leading French “e-libraries” outside of France.  Our design proposal, “L’Espace Portail” or “Gateway Space,” reconceives the library as a virtual information and social gateway to connect the FCC members in Boston with other global communities within the Alliance Francaise network and beyond.

FCC_readingroom_rend-FINAL

Perspective – interior of proposed Young Adults room, French Cultural Center of Boston Library. Image courtesy Hartnessvision.

FCC_elevation-FINAL

Partial elevation – external elevator concept study, French Cultural Center of Boston Library.

Key challenges for this design study included addressing Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB, 521 CMR) requirements to provide universal access to the public and educational facilities to literally broaden the FCC’s access to the Greater Boston Community, and vice-versa.  The transformation of the extant library facilities into a new and globally interconnected facility – both virtually and physically – is an important step for the FCC as it plans for its next century in its Charles Brigham-designed 1860s building.

CREDITS

Design Team:   Hartnessvision, XChange Architects

Cost Estimating:  Rider Levett Bucknall

Constructibility: Sleeping Dog Properties

All photos, images and drawings copyright Hartnessvision, French Cultural Center of Boston and XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Springing Forward on Newbury Street (Part Deux): Diane von Furstenberg Boston

DVF - exteriorAs the Greater Boston area returns to normalcy, we are inspired by the resilience of the American people and reminded of the price of living in a free, democratic society.  With investigation scenes in Boston, Cambridge and Watertown scaling down, we encourage our friends and neighbors to take back our streets.  Please be advised that Newbury Street is open for business and hope indeed springs eternal here in the heart of the Back Bay.  Please consider (re)visiting some of our clients out there, including our first Newbury Street project – the DvF Boston store.

XChange Architects was invited to collaborate with Diane von Furstenberg Studio in 2010 on the design and construction administration of the first DvF store in New England at 73 Newbury Street.  Although an extensive corporate design standard was available, there were considerable challenges in applying them to a turn-of-the-century brownstone.  A range of custom design solutions – from unique universal access concepts to a considerable re-use of the existing HVAC system – resulted in the skillful merging of a contemporary design aesthetic with a New England flair.  We are most appreciative of the collaborative problem-solving spirit of our design team – including DvF’s New York City-based interior architecture team and R.G. Vanderweil Engineers – as well as our unflappable General Contractor, Sleeping Dog Properties.

DVF - interior1

Interior view of the main retail bays, looking towards Newbury Street. Copyright Roberto Farren Photography, 2011.

DVF - diagrams

DVF axon

DVF - details

CREDITS

Photography:  Roberto Farren Photography

Design Lead:  David Del Villar, VP of Design and Construction – DvF Studio LP

General Contractor:  Sleeping Dog Properties, Inc.

M/E/P & FP:  R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, LLP

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Take Back the Streets: Time to Renew Your Outdoor Seating Permits

OneFundFlag-smIn acknowledgement of the recent events in Boston, Cambridge, and Watertown, our thoughts go out to the affected and we owe a debt of gratitude to our region’s resilient citizenry, first-responders and law enforcement officials. Please consider making a contribution to the One Fund to aid those affected by the events of April 15, 2013 in Boston http://onefundboston.org/

The lock-down in the Greater Boston area was challenging, but proved to be a necessary inconvenience. Ironically, we were scheduled to meet with our client today, Yoki Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, in Central Square in the City of Cambridge, to update a sidewalk seating concept requiring approval by the Department of Public Works for the spring-summer outdoor seating season.

For our hospitality clients, please check with your local building and planning officials to confirm permitting requirements for outdoor restaurant seating.  The criteria may include service restrictions (especially with alcohol being served), seating requirements (typically limited by available restroom fixtures), structural and dimensional requirements for outdoor dividers, exterior signage, lighting, plantings and applicable insurance coverage.

Let’s take back our streets in the Greater Boston Area.

Yoki-Exterior-FINAL

An earlier outdoor seating concept for 485 Massachusetts Avenue

About the project – XChange Architects was invited by Yoki’s management team to develop a cost-effective design solution for their second restaurant that could 1) absorb the extant interior and building systems of a previous restaurant and 2) help develop a new visual and graphic identity that could be standardized and deployed in future roll-outs. The 3,000 SF interior renovation was completed in August 2012.

Yoki-1-lores

View of main sake bar. Copyright Roberto Farren Photography, 2012

Yoki-Sushi bar-FINAL

Perspective view – Sushi Bar

CREDITS

Photography – Roberto Farren Photography

Electrical engineer – BLW Engineers, Inc.

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Early Education in Brookline: Excellence – by Design

LCSH_SEPT2011_008-SMALL

Interior view of the new Pre-Kindergarten annex, Little Children Schoolhouse. Copyright Roberto Farren Photography, 2011

Education is one of the most sought-after products from the Town of Brookline.  From day care and early education facilities to the high school, we sweat the details here.  In the May 2013 Annual Town Meeting, the Department of Planning and Community Development will be seeking Town Meeting support on Warrant Article 18, which will amend current Brookline zoning for day cares to be in alignment with Massachusetts General Law.  In short, the proposed zoning amendment will bring the town’s Zoning By-Law into conformance with state regulations, provide appropriate review for child care facilities logistics (e.g. adequate drop-off and pick-up zones), and mitigate potential over-crowding of public parks and amenities.  We agree with the amendment to the zoning and agree that the quality of day care and early education could only improve with enhanced regulatory coordination and common-sense design and planning.  For more information on the Warrant Article 18, please refer to the Town of Brookline website – http://www.brooklinema.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=275&Itemid=270

In the Fall of 2011, we completed our first day care facility – a Pre-Kindergarten addition for Little Children Schoolhouse.  The project consists of a 900 SF gut interior redevelopment of an underutilized storage space.  Situated in a tight urban infill site on busy Washington Street in Brookline Village – abutted by commercial, mixed-use  neighbors on both sides and single family residences in the rear – daylighting was scarce.  As such, we took advantage of the available roofscape to bring in light as well as additional HVAC service into the new rear addition.

C:Documents and SettingsDerrick ChoiMy DocumentsMy DropboxLLatitudinal building section – through the skylight

C:Documents and SettingsDerrick ChoiMy DocumentsMy DropboxL         C:Documents and SettingsDerrick ChoiMy DocumentsMy DropboxL

Site and Floor Plans – 306 Washington Street

CREDITS

Photography:  Roberto Farren Photography

General Contractor: PSC Contracting

Mechanical and Plumbing Engineering:  VAV International, Inc.

Electrical Engineering:  Sam Zax and Associates

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.

Springing Forward on Newbury Street: Wich!t Sandwich

Newbury blizzardAfter a brutal 2013 Winter, we are more than ready for the return of Spring on Boston’s Newbury Street.  We are delighted to announce the completion of our latest restaurant design and the emergence of one of the newest culinary gems on Newbury – Wich!t Sandwich.  Formerly based in Lawrence, MA, the aunt & nephew management team of Rose and Chris Young have brought their craft sandwich savvy to the heart of Boston’s Back Bay.

With just about 1,000 sf of usable lease area, every square inch of this sandwich shop demanded a heightened attention to detail and a required a concerted effort to integrate the client’s vision with the operational directives of the kitchen coordinators and the realities of the building and the regulatory process (from the Back Bay Architectural Commission to the Boston Redevelopment Authority).  Wichit - Main elevationEach of these planning considerations provided the insights that led to design opportunities and ultimately, innovation.  The use of the extant brick party walls, stainless steel work stations and exposed conduits and junction boxes allowed the team to develop a concept that conformed with tight financial parameters without compromising the design vision to create an environment that celebrated the honesty of craft sandwich fabrication.

LEFT – main restaurant elevation, 244 Newbury Street.  Store branding, graphic design and signage concept by Brian Colcord

Wichit-main

View of the main service line.  Image courtesy Thrillist Boston.

Chef Chris Young envisioned an open kitchen concept that engaged customers immediately upon entering the store.  The decision to eschew wall partitions in the open plan resulted in a more open and inviting space for diners without compromising precious kitchen operating area.

Wichit - Floor Plan

WICHIT-FINAL

Wichit-sign Wichit-dining

Check out both the hot and cool craft sandwiches at Wich!t at 244 Newbury Street (Fairfield and Newbury, next to Daisy Buchanan’s).  For more on the restaurant, go to the Thrillist Boston review in December 2012 – http://www.thrillist.com/eat/boston/ma/02116/back-bay/wicht_asian_catering_coffee-shop_delivery_healthy_lunch_sandwiches_african_feature/occasion_type/cu

CREDITS

Photography:  all images posted courtesy of Thrillist Boston

General Contractor:  The Evergreen Group, Inc.

M/E/P:  BLW Engineers, Inc.

Kitchen consultant:  Boston Showcase Company

Graphic Designer:  Brian Colcord

 

All photographs, images and drawings copyright XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.