New York-based architectural photographer Paul Clemence has shared with us recent images and his thoughts on Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s new student residence hall that is being constructed in downtown Boston. The 21-story, $61 million building is planned for completion this year.
Boston is not particularly known as a destination for trendy, contemporary architecture; but some new buildings are beginning to change that perception. From Diller Scofidio Renfro’s Institute of Contemporary Art to Norman Foster’s new wing at The Museum of Fine Arts to the recently completed Renzo Piano addition to the beloved Gardner Museum, the city’s urbanscape is getting a much needed updating. And now, a soon to be finished bold new project by the firm ADD Inc is bringing a colorful twist to the mix. They are the designers behind the new MassArt Students Residence Hall.
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One of the project goals was to create a building that addressed the issues pertinent to all involved with it and thus added to student focus group. Input from faculty and the neighboring community were taken with great respect. The architect’s team tirelessly researched core curriculum demands and the needs required to create an environment would foster the interactions and artistic dialogue suitable for such a place.
Combining dorms (493 beds) and a health center shared by MassArt, MCPHS and Wentworth Institute of Technology, the 145000-square-foot building features all the pre-requisite standards we come to expect from new construction. The building is LEED Silver certified and already has received official recognition, as it was awarded Honorable Mention in the American Institute of Architects’ Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Building Information Model Awards competition. Both the BIM Excellence and Delivery Process Innovations categories were lauded.
The design is composed of an elegant tower, slightly skewed in geometry, resting with a subtle tilt from the base that gives the composition a well behaved yet playful feel. The main volume is clad with metal panels painted in tones of yellow mustard and highlights on fresh citrus green (if it wasn’t for the not so tropical temperatures, you would think it’s Miami).
“We are happy to have exciting and new buildings in the neighborhood. Hopefully that will inspire more interest in good architecture in the city”, says Anne Hawley, director of the close by, exquisitely expanded Gardner Museum.
Located on the so-called Avenue of the Arts, in contrast to its lofty close by neighbors, the imposing Foster wing and the glistening Piano addition, this project’s program is not a home for the finest in high art, but provides for a rather more mundane activity, housing for the future makers of that so-called high art. And in that it makes possibly an even stronger statement, one that suggests Boston is now ready to bring contemporary design to a broader audience, by incorporating it to its everyday buildings.
Written by Paul Clemence