Aug. 15th Piedmont Park Square Multi-Unit Housing Project

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Studio Luz Architects is proud to present the Piedmont Park Square project. We are indebted to our clients, TCR Development and JB Ventures for being out-of-the-box thinking developers and gave Studio Luz and the consulting team the opportunity to build the vision into reality. The multi-unit residence is located at the edge of the neighborhood, acting as an urban threshold that bonds the large scale and modern buildings of the city with the small scale, historic, residential fabric of the Bay Village. The project features 4 townhouse style units, 4 row house flats, and 10 sub-grade parking spaces.

 

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The townhouse flats are floor through units, which create stacked living situations. This organization is expressed most significantly at the intersection of Piedmont and Church Street, resulting the corner with an interlocking massing of large windows with the resemblance of a “Dovetail.” The organization of row house units is articulated by “Zipper Course” brick work, giving an individual expression to each of the units. Entry ways are recessed in keeping with the local residences, and the brick facade above the entry features “Stubble Course” brickwork that further demarcates entries.

 

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Sustainable practices were considered during the design process. Brick was used for the exterior skin because it now requires 70% less energy to produce than it did in 1970, it was locally sourced and due to its durability and permanence qualities, it is less likely to end up in a landfill. High performance foam insulation was used throughout the project with the building envelop exceeding code requirements. Sustainable harvested wood, LOW or NO-VOC paints and finishes were used throughout. The project also met Energy Star Standards and met the Massachusetts STRETCH Code.

 

For more images about this project, please visit Studio Luz Architects website.

 

 

 

Studio Luz Architects Updates

This summer Studio Luz office is jammed with diverse people and projects. A recent-grad RISD M.Arch student, Tzu-Yu Su joins the office for summer internship. Iris Kim, a fourth year B.Arch student at RISD, and a team of volunteered weaving artists, Lyza Baum, Siena Smith, Michelle Dunbar, and Isabelle Camarra, and Illustrator, Gina Baek, join for the public art installation “The Tilt-Down Fence,” an immigrant communal project initiated by the non-profit organization BR+A+CE. Series of events such as free ice cream, puppeteer show, and immigrant’s story reading will be happening on the site. Find out more on the project’s blog.

Academically, principal Hansy Better Barraza was promoted to Professor in Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and was Graduate Program Director. Joined since 2015 Fall as assistant Professor of Architecture at Roger Williams University, principal Anthony Piermarini continues his service at RWU and coordinates first year architectural design, computing, and graphic communication program.

 

 

 

Jul. 15th Charlestown Mixed-Income Housing Project

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Studio Luz is proud to announce that it is on a team of five architecture firms that is taking on the challenge of redeveloping a 24-acre site in Boston’s historic neighborhood of Charlestown. The team includes developers Corcoran Jennison, and SunCalStantec oversees the urban design, master planning and four consulting architectural firms: DiMella ShafferDREAM CollaborativeMarshall Moya Design and Studio Luz Architects. This type of collaboration is certainly unusual — these types of projects are usually awarded to one large planning and design firm. By bringing together a group of architects with different design outlooks, Corcoran Jennison, SunCal, and Stantec have seized the opportunity to create a design think tank of sorts for the master plan of this project. The project is currently in the permitting process and is undergoing a Boston Redevelopment Authority Design Review. This is a phased-out project—Phase 1 Design begins January of 2017 and construction commences in the fall of 2017. Below you will get a glimpse of our design process.

 

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Situated in Bunker Hill, the site is currently home to Boston Housing Authority’s largest public housing development. This development will be replaced with a mixed-income residential building that will include new housing, new and redeveloped parks, outdoor space, new retail and community spaces.

StudioLuz_B08-and-E09-renderThe goals of the collaboration are to meet the development needs for the project, design buildings that respond to one another, respect the historic character of Charlestown, and develop and design in response to the needs of residents currently living in the housing development. To understand residents’ need and anticipation of the project, the team participated in community meetings where residents were able to speak openly about what they valued in their neighborhood and what resources their neighborhood still needed. Some of the most important values that emerged included: public parks, proportions and materials of buildings, modern aesthetics that relate to the existing neighborhood, shops, commercial space for new businesses, access to various basic resources, as well as stoops and plazas for different scales of social interaction.

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At the beginning of the designing process, Studio Luz conducted a study of the seven of the blocks within the site to brainstorm different approaches to integrating outdoor space, incorporating the characteristics of existing buildings in the neighborhood, and using materials and façade systems innovatively. Additionally, all teams worked with a kit of parts that established the range of materials and fenestration and with pre-established plans and heights of buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul. 15th Wellesley College Acorns Renovation

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Studio Luz designed a renovation for Acorns House. A historic building on Wellesley College’s campus, Acorns House was originally designed by the architecture firm Compton + Pierce  in 1955 for the Dean of Students. Starting in the Fall of 2016, the Acorns House is slated to become the new home for Asian, Latina and LGBTQ Advising within the Office of Intercultural Education.

The primary challenge was to design a space that could accommodate multiple cultures and be sensitive to the original design intent of Walter Pierce, partner with Danforth Compton at Compton + Pierce. Studio Luz conceptualized the space based on Wellesley College’s mission statement as well as focus groups in which Asian, Latina, and LGBTQ students shared their aspirations for the space and their program. The resulting designs use graphics and textiles referencing different cultures and feminist leadership; the overall effect creates a sense of overlapping, intricate identities as well as interconnectedness. The project broke ground on Thursday July 14 and is scheduled to be open by September 2016.

During Studio Luz’s research it was discovered that Marianne Fisker, life partner of Walter Pierce,  was an artist, designer and print maker who shared similar interests in art and design with Mr. Pierce. The use of textiles in the project thus plays a dual role in the design: at once referencing Ms. Fisker’s design contribution and the current student body’s desire to weave multiple identities into a whole.

 

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Apr. 15th New housing proposal for 16 Ronald St

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The Project

Studio Luz is proud to showcase a housing design proposal in response to the Department of Neighborhood Development’s call for proposals for the development of a 34,415 square foot residential area on Ronald Street. Teaming up with VietAID, Inc and Codman Square NDC, we have proposed two and three story multifamily homes. The two buildings will house 58 apartments, including studios, single bedroom units, and the Senior Community Room. The Senior Community Room is a multipurpose room in which residents will be able to gather for group activities, host events, and/or open the space to the larger community.

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Joining the Neighborhood

The site’s connection to the neighborhood was a crucial piece of the design process for us. Accordingly, we have organized the site around a community outdoor street space that extends the lines of Morse Street. We envision this throughway playing an important role for Ronald St residents, offering them a central public space for recreation, socializing, or an evening stroll.

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Our Residential Philosophy


Ronald St. is the most recent of a series of urban residential projects that are bound together by a common philosophy. We approach the design of urban housing not as just an aggregation of unit types or even just a single building, but as enduring homes for families, groups and individuals with diverse personal lifestyles. Additionally, we believe that all of our projects must be as responsive to the environment as they are comfortable for residents. By incorporating these considerations into our designs, we seek to foster independent living with strengthened communities. The Ronald St. design has developed from this foundation of social responsibility, personal styles, respect for the historic environment, and sustainability.  We will keep you posted if our team is selected for the project — fingers crossed!

 

 

 

Mar. 5th Boston Home Magazine features Studio Luz

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Studio Luz is proud to announce that writer Alyssa Giacobbe has featured the Meyer Residence in Boston Home Magazine. Giacobbe covers a range of topics, giving readers a sense for the problem-solving skills that were required of Barraza and Piermarini as they navigated the design process as architects. Giacobbe delves into the Barraza and Piermarini’s shared values behind the design — modern aesthetic, openness, and sustainability — as well as their sometimes competing visions of how those values should manifest. Additionally, the article provides a full description of the Meyer Residence and photos of Barraza and Piermarini’s family in the home.

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The Meyer Residence, home to Studio Luz’s very own Hansy Better Barraza and Anthony Piermarini, is located on a small urban lot in Roslindale. The Meyer Residence emphasizes light, sustainability, and openness. The first floor is organized around a central stairwell that divides the service spaces from the family social spaces. The stairway serves as a light-well and air chimney for the home. It is made from perforated metal, custom bent to create the steps. The perforations allow for light and air to pass through the space freely. A central galley kitchen allows for the dining and living spaces to overlap with the food focused areas; this overlap encourages family social time on the first floor. On the second level, there are 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and shared storage areas. A full roof deck allows for ample outdoor space for family life.

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The innovative use of space and material in the Meyer Residence has not gone unnoticed: in October 2015, the Meyer Residence won an American architecture award from the Chicago Athenaeum. To learn more about the creative process behind the Meyer Residence, click here and read the feature!