Feb. 10th Reflections and News from Studio Luz!



Studio Luz Project Team (from left to right): Wenda Shen (Intern), Joseph Echavarria (Intern), Anthony Piermarini (Principal), Hansy Better Barraza (Principal), Celeste Martinez (Designer), Dane Clark (Associate)

As we reach the beginning of the second month in the New Year at Studio Luz, we are thrilled to share and reflect our accomplishments in 2016 and the projects ahead in 2017. Before we leap into describing exciting new developments in our firm, however, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the gravity of the election and offer some thoughts on what it has meant to us. After the election, we here at Studio Luz found ourselves in a new political context that challenged us to think more deeply about our values and mission. At Studio Luz we operate with a strong social consciousness, we feel more than ever the importance of the work that we and our peers do here and across the country. We also feel truly proud to serve the clients that we do; who do so much to support individuals, families, and communities. We feel lucky to be part of this community and excited to see what we can all achieve together this year.


New project with Sociedad Latina

One of the projects we are excited about in 2017 is the building survey we are conducting with Sociedad Latina. Sociedad Latina is an organization in Boston that supports Latinx communities in Mission Hill and Roxbury through providing mentorship in civic engagement, arts, academic assistance, and family support. To our delight, Sociedad Latina has enlisted our help as they begin to think critically about how their program can continue to grow and utilize their space in Mission Hill in the future. Last week, we conducted focus groups with Sociedad Latina’s board and participants to assess the programmatic and spatial needs for the future and presented a building survey.


Tilt Down Fence_blog entry

Tilt Down Fence

Our 501c-3 non-profit organization, BR+A+CE completed its third project this year: the Tilt-Down Fence. The Tilt-Down Fence was a temporary public art piece that used ladder-like structures that folded down into picnic tables and benches to activate an area adjacent to the Fields Corner bus stop. Importantly, the piece acted as a community-building mechanism in which adults from the Vietnamese and immigrant communities in the area can gather, support, and network at various events – e.g. story time, ice cream socials, and puppet shows – held over the course of September 2016 for families in the area. This project was completed in collaboration with the Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (Viet-AID), Fields Corner Civic Association, and Bloomfield Park Neighborhood Association. The Tilt-Down Fence was funded by The Boston Foundation (Vision Fund Grant), The Awesome Foundation, The Boston Society of Architects Foundation, and Viet-AID.


Acorns House at Wellesley College

One very rewarding project that we worked on this year was 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. Acorns House is 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. Through facilitating focus groups with faculty, staff, and students and contributing our skills as architects, our office was able to design a multi-cultural center that reflected multiple, intersecting identities, created spaces for different required services, and maintained the structural integrity of Acorns House.  

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


Chestnut St Condominium

We are also proud to announce that we have recently completed a single-family condominium in Beacon Hill. Studio Luz assisted a family of 6 in combining two historic condominiums into a sleek, luminous residence. Together working with FH Perry Builder, Studio Luz designed brightly colored walls, white marble surfaces, and large, flexible glass walls to augment the lighting and capacity of the space. The spaces were designed with transformable furniture as well to accommodate a large family’s need in a unit.

There is nothing more rewarding than the work we do, as it brings together so many people to make for better spaces, better buildings and ultimately better experiences. Thanks to everyone we have worked with and we send our best wishes for peace, health and happiness this year!

Jul. 15th Wellesley College Acorns Renovation


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.












Dec. 23rd A Holiday Message and Happy 2016!


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As 2016 is about to start, we here at Studio Luz are excited to reflect on the almost complete new residential building, Piedmont Park Square. As part of our reflection, we recognize that this building is not a result of a singular effort by one group of people but built upon a collaborative team invested in design.  We are indebted to our clients, TCR Development and JB Ventures for giving Studio Luz and our consultants the opportunity to see the collaborative efforts come into built reality. The new construction of eight residential units in Bay Village would not have been possible without the contractors, Atlantic Management, and their dedication to seeing this through.  It is rewarding to see how many people we have collaborated with on this project and helped us successfully complete this milestone work. Thank you for the privilege!

We have much to look forward to in 2016, including projects under way and new clients that we will certainly enjoy working with. We will starting construction on multiple single family renovations in the Boston area including Brookline, Beacon Hill, Roslindale, Weston and Brighton.  For residential projects, we rely on contractors that are creative problem solvers and have a proven track record to build our projects. We want to thank Aldor Corporation, Aedi Construction and FH Perry Builders for their trusted relationships.  We are forming a new collaboration with Cocobeet, an innovative food company looking to expand their existing Boston business with a new location in Wellesley, MA. Stay tuned for design updates in 2016!

There is nothing more rewarding than the work we do, as it brings together so many people to make for better spaces, better buildings and ultimately better experiences. Thanks to everyone we have worked with and we send our best wishes for peace, health and happiness for the New Year!

revised front facade- front yard view FINAL

Above: Dustin Street renovation, Brighton, MA


A Year in Review:

The Meyer Residence received The American Architecture Award for 2015. This award honors the best, new significant buildings and landscape and planning projects designed and/or built in the United States. The Meyer Residence drawings and photos are being exhibited at the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies in Chicago in December 2015. After Chicago, the exhibition travels to Izmir Turkey and then to our Museum in Athens, Greece.


Image courtesy of John Horner Photography

Studio Luz is waiting on permits for Bruno‘s Burgersa 2,000 square foot, 62-seat restaurant featuring grass-fed burgers, sandwiches & shakes in Cape Cod, MA.  Studio Luz assisted the owners in developing the brand, graphic design and space that will serve meat that is raised naturally without antibiotics or hormones. Studio Luz designed a new façade and interiors, featuring vertical wood Garapa fins that help to animate and transform a former donut shop.


Studio Luz completed the Providence Foods Marketplace feasibility study for the City of Providence. Intending to create a new form of civic space that supports the local food culture, the City of Providence approached Studio Luz to come up with a new food/ marketplace typology. This new building would house and celebrate the local farmers, food makers and entrepreneurs by providing a diverse set of spaces where they can sell their produce.


ACTAR recently released an article written by Hansy Better Barraza,  “Architect as Initiator: Searching for Authentic Production” in Beyond Patronage: Reconsidering Models of Practice edited by Martha Bohm, Joyce Hwang, and Gabrielle Printz. The article discusses projects designed and built by BR+A+CE, a 501c3 non-profit co-founded by Hansy Better Barraza and Anthony Piermarini, and how they related to notions of architectural “patronage” today and their implications in design, research, and practice.

CUrMq9BVEAADRB9-editedImage courtesy of Joyce Hwang