Dec. 22nd Season’s Greetings from Studio Luz Architects

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To our Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends,

As we close out 2020, we are writing with a sincere message of gratitude and optimism for 2021. This has been a year of many difficult circumstances and unprecedented situations. We are thankful that we were able to work with you through these challenges and accomplish many of the goals we set together. There is certainly much more work to be done as we strive to create work that exceeds expectations and continues to inspire.

Studio Luz is proud to have been part of a number of projects and initiatives this past year. We are actively working on affordable and environmentally responsible multi-family housing throughout Boston’s neighborhoods with TLee Development, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corp. and Urbanica. All of which are striving to meet the City of Boston’s Carbon Zero initiative and the ambitious Passive House standards for energy performance. We also have an inspiring historical renovation and new residences rising in Bay Village with our long valued clients TCR Development and JB Ventures. Another project which is so very important personally, and to the community, is Sociedad Latina’s new building renovations on Mission Hill, finishing up in early 2021. Looking ahead to the spring, we are thrilled about our upcoming collaboration with Boston artist Marlon Forrester on the Dewitt playground renovations as a vital public space. This is all-important work for the communities our projects serve, and a true honor to be part of their well-deserved success!

We are also happy to be serving our professional and academic community, Anthony Piermarini is serving on the Boston Society of Architects Board. Hansy Better Barraza will be teaching a seminar on Women in Architecture and Urbanism at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in joint appointment between Architecture, Urban Design, and Planning. Centered to the studio’s mission on design accessibility and equity, the principals have co-authored an essay titled “Work to Do After” to be published in the Cornell Journal of Architecture. These many facets of our practice inform how we approach the discipline, and we are thankful to be engaged in these pursuits with each and every one of you.

All of this work is collaborative and cannot be achieved without support from our incredibly talented and tireless staff! Jeanine, Ivan, Jason, Damian, Iris, and Youngju, have contributed amazing things to this practice. This team works with rigor, intellect, respect, grace, and good-natured humor in all that they take on. Lastly, our collaboration with the various talented Clients, Contractors, Engineers, and Professional Consultants is greatly appreciated as we create more opportunities to work together. Architecture is a collaborative enterprise, touching so many aspects of the environment, the city, and people’s lives, it is only through strong teams that we realize our aspirations.

On behalf of Studio Luz Architects, may your holidays be bright and upcoming New Year be prosperous!

Sincerely,

Hansy Better Barraza, AIA LEED AP BD+C & Anthony Piermarini, AIA

Founding Principals 

Jul. 10th Studio Luz Announcements & Completed Projects

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The Studio Luz office is bustling this summer with new projects and new staff. Bringing expertise in residential construction and graphic/ exhibition design and experience in institutional and commercial projects, Lisa Lostritto joins our office as a Project Manager and Designer.   We have returning intern Ellen Woodsbie and now graduate Hanhan Luo from last year.  Bringing expertise in urban design, Shiqing Liu joins us from Harvard University’s Masters of Urban Design program. Also Connie Wang, a fifth year B.Arch student at RISD, joins us for the first time this summer.  Together with Lisa and with experience in construction, Dane Clark is currently working on Construction Administration for the Piedmont Housing project.

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Announcements and events:

Anthony Piermarini has been appointed Assistant Professor at Roger Williams University School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation. Anthony will take up his new position this fall 2015.

Hansy Better Barraza gave a lecture at the University of Patras as part of a collaborative studio led by Hansy  and Demetra Katsota (University of Patras). The lecture, Work, Life, discussed the recent housing projects completed and under construction.

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Hansy also was panelist and co-organizer with Sheila Bonde, Laura Briggs and Dietrich Neumann  for the joint RISD/ Brown University Architecture Urbanism Humanities Symposium on April 23-25 2015.The list of participants include Bernard Tschumi, Amale Andraos, Stan Allen, Nicholas BoyarskyThomas Kelley, Kent Kleinman, Itohan Osayimwese, Matthias SauerbruchIgor MarjanovicNader Tehrani and Martha Thorne.

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Giving back to the community:

Principal Hansy Better Barraza and Project Manager Lisa Lostritto participated in the Design for Justice Interdisciplinary Unit at the Urban Science Academy, a Boston Public High School, in May 2015. Christine Sand, a Humanities teacher at the Urban Science Academy invited the staff at Studio Luz Architects as professional volunteers to help high school students develop their proposals for humane migrant housing.  In addition, Studio Luz Architects has conducted advocacy work through design workshops and talks with early age learners at the Hurley School K-8, a Boston Public Spanish-English immersion school located in the South End.

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What we have completed:

Along with the completion of two single family residences that we have covered on our blog recently, the Meyer Residence and Eliot Residence, we have also completed work on the new Dolce & Gabbana store on Newbury Street in Boston and a new storage wine wall installation at Seiyo Sushi & Wine Bar in Boston.

Dolce & Gabbana

As the Architect of record for the Dolce & Gabanna retail store on Newbury Street in Boston, the goal was to work with the company’s branding and design team to create a space that coordinates with existing site conditions yet still showcases the brand’s luxurious style. The entrance is split into the brand’s requisite men’s and women’s entrances by creating glass doorways in the two existing bay windows. The store welcomes visitors through small level platform changes and into a series of luxury cavern spaces displaying Dolce & Gabanna products.

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use this-01Repurposing Chimney Flues as Wine Display Containers

Following the concept for Seiyo Sushi & Wine Bar, the wine display is a fusion of old and new. The display is made from repurposed terra cotta chimney flues as the immediate bottle container and is wrapped with ribbons of cold rolled steel plates with a gun blue patina. The steel runs the extent of the flues to not only encompass each bin but also shifts from surface to standing bottle display as the steel nests between, and at the termination of bins. The two rows of the display are secured to laminated veneer lumber and are angled at the ends to allow for customer visibility and ability to walk around the display.

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Jun. 25th Building Your Home can be Affordable in the City

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Studio Luz Architects designed the Meyer Residence to balance aesthetics, high performance building systems, and affordability. Developed on a vacant lot, and with close consultation with neighbors and community leaders, Studio Luz sought to create a new home that was uniquely crafted to allow for a growing family to stay in the neighborhood. Through modern design sensibilities and careful working of materials, the result is a home that nestles into a hillside and pulls the outside in. The house is Energy Star certified, utilizing high performance appliances, air tight construction, foam insulation that exceeds code, high performance glazing systems, mini-split heating and cooling, on-demand hot-water service, rain water management on site, as well a suite of ecologically sensitive finishes.

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One example of bespoke made affordable is the building envelope; through a careful choreography of construction a custom vertical wood cladding was made using panels that were pre-cut off-site and then clipped on to a rainscreen system in the field. The wood selected is IBAMA and SEMA certified IPE siding. Aedi Construction, the contractor for the project, brought their expertise in green construction and worked creatively to coordinate all of the custom off-site fabrication using typical home building methods and materials.


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On the interior, the central stair space is another example of the balance between performance and aesthetic affect. The stair performs both as a way to circulate through the house, but also as a large semi transparent light well, penetrating all levels of the house. The perforations in the stair treads and risers allow for air to circulate through the house with ease and create beautiful visual effects with sunlight and maintain visual connections. The use of the bent metal produced a very thin stair profile, eliminating expressed structural supports, adding a sense of levity.

Features of the home promote family living, including a central kitchen space that unites living and dining areas. Some others include bookshelves that have hidden work surfaces and shared closet areas to promote interaction among the family.

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The windows allow for ample day lighting, with strategic apertures for southern light, and panoramic windows that frame the landscaped hillside. There is a garden view to the east framed by picture windows that allow the first rays of sunrise to dapple in through the trees. The landscape was designed by C2 | Studio Landscape Architecture based in Fort Collins, CO.

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Neighborhood Initiatives:

The Meyer St. Residence is located on the periphery of the Woodbourne Historic area of Jamaica Plain. The neighborhood‘s planning is inspired by the garden city movement. Most recently, there have been a number of individual and city initiatives to make development within the neighborhood examples for energy efficient building strategies. One example is the Boston’s Positive (E+) Green Building Demonstration Program, developed to create more affordable energy positive homes in the city and encouraging the use of ecologically minded design strategies. Studio Luz Architects took on the challenge of designing a house that promotes environmental responsibility in building and leads by example by incorporating affordable energy efficient systems. Recently, within one block of the Meyer Street residence, four other homes have been developed with high performance and ecologically sensitive strategies. We see this project contributing to the long-term vitality of the neighborhood and city.

The Meyer Street Residence was featured in an article “Local Architects build ‘supergreen’ dream house” written by Rebeca Oliveira in the Jamaica Plain Gazette. For additional project images, we invite you to visit our website.

Apr. 7th Harpoon, Awards & More

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View of Beer Hall

On February 1st, the Harpoon Brewery Beer Hall & Visitor Center opened to much critical acclaim. After positive reviews from the Boston Magazine, Boston.com, and Twitter, the Beer Hall has been packed! Harpoon Senior Vice President of Marketing, Charlie Storey noted that the beer hall is so popular, it hit capacity on Saint Patrick’s Day weekend by 11:30 am!

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View from Function Room

Studio Luz Architects’s communal design has allowed for Harpoon to craft the experience of enjoying their beer among friends, all while taking in fantastic views of Boston and Harpoon’s new canning line! Make sure you go check out our latest project, and have a beer while you’re there.

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View from Bar

Make sure you check out more images of Harpoon on our website.

OTHER MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS:

luz_51Urbanica 691 Residences won a 2012 BSA Design Award for Housing Design. In other good news our Urbanica 691 Residences project on Massachusetts Avenue won a 2012 BSA Design Award for Housing Design. We are very proud of our design and collaboration with Urbanica, and appreciative of the recognition. Check out more images of Urbanica 691 on our website.

Leather District Loft featured in Boston Home “Best Of Boston Home 2012” issue. Leather District Loft also has received good press recently, as it was featured in Boston Home’s Best of Boston Home 2012 magazine. Check out the spread and make sure you look on our website to see more images, including an animation of how the space changes!

Barraza lectures about newly released book “Where are the Utopian Visionaries? Architecture of Social Exchange.” Principal Hansy Better Barraza of Studio Luz Architects is also lecturing to promote her recent book “Where are the Utopian Visionaries? Architecture of Social Exchange” and will have speaking engagements at The Cooper Union on April 11th and at the University of Puerto Rico, San Juan on April, 12th.

For more information check out the books website for purchasing information and future lectures.

Jan. 1st Welcome 2013!

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Studio Luz Architects is 10 years old! This is certainly a milestone for us and we are very grateful to all those we have worked with through the years. Looking back over 10 years it is rewarding to see how many people we have collaborated with and helped us successfully complete so much work. Thank you for the privilege!

This past year, we began new relationships that have proven to be inspiring. It began with a great project for the Harpoon Brewery Visitor’s Center. We are very proud of the work we did with the Harpoon team, they have certainly lived up to their moniker that “beer is best enjoyed among friends” and we are glad to have made some new ones in Harpoon. Throughout the process we worked closely with Cafco Construction to complete the new Beer Hall on the South Boston waterfront and are proud to say that the venue is scheduled to open early in 2013. Congratulations to the entire design, construction and Harpoon team! Cheers!

We have much to look forward to in 2013, including projects under way and new clients that we will certainly enjoy working with. We would like to specifically thank our friends in Liverpool UK, for inviting us to their home and allowing us to design for their growing family. Another project underway is a new sustainable ground up residence in Jamaica Plain, where we are making a cozy building nestled into the garden. This will be a great hidden gem. Following up on previous projects, our recently completed Leather District Loft was just written up by Cheryl Weber in Residential Architect and will also be featured in the forthcoming Boston Magazine for the Spring of 2013. Developing these relationships with our residential clients is truly rewarding.

A big, big, big, congratulations to Principal Hansy Better Barraza for the release of her book “Where are the Utopian Visionaries? Architecture of Social Exchange”. She has worked tirelessly to develop this project with Gloria Kury of Periscope Ltd. and distribution by Prestel Press. Look for or request your copy from your local bookseller. You can also order online.

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.