Brooke Mattapan Charter Concludes Construction


We are currently wrapping up construction for our work at Brooke Mattapan Charter School, and while on site I snapped these pics to show the progress. The building was constructed in the early 1900s, and we’re modernizing it to accommodate 475 students in grades K-8. Most noticeably in these photos you can see the addition of the glass stair tower, which is a contemporary addition to the historic building. The first students will walk the halls for the September 2014 school year.

Fenway High School Groundbreaking


Our Fenway High School addition and renovation project officially began construction with a wonderfully attended groundbreaking on May 8th (video is available). The groundbreaking demonstrated the commitment the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools and Fenway High School have towards its students and the surrounding neighborhoods…

Marblehead Teen Center Update

Construction Design

A nice update on our work in Marblehead on adding a teen center to their library appeared in the local paper yesterday. As it mentions, we’ve been working with the Abbot Public Library and Marblehead High School for about two and a half years now in both an educational and design role. Check out the article here.

Arrowstreet at the Architecture Boston Expo


Arrowstreet’s work will be on display in the exhibit hall again this year at the Architecture Boston Expo, being held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on November 19-21.If you’re attending, see if you can spot our boards featuring photos of our work at KIPP Academy Lynn and the 210 Broadway Courtyard around the hall!

More On the EpiCenter Expansion


Corporate Neighbor Helps Arts Program Expand from Chris Lovett on Vimeo.

Here’s a BNN video with a little more information on the EpiCenter expansion previously mentioned. Gillette’s generous gift has made this expansion possible, and we’re excited to see what comes next.

ULI UrbanPlan Volunteering

Courtesy of ULI Boston
Courtesy of ULI Boston

As an architect, I enjoy bringing my passion for good design to both the office and to the community. I feel that having connections with the larger community strengthens my ability to connect with the people who interact with our buildings every day. Many of the projects I work on are schools, so I particularly enjoy working with students and helping them understand the challenges of the built environment they live in. To expand my interaction with students I recently joined ULI (the Urban Land Institute) and became a volunteer in their UrbanPlan program. Since I have joined the

Historic Histrionics

Insight Design

As part of the Edward Brooke Mattapan Charter School project, the design team is pursuing the award of historic tax credits that are administered by the National Park Service. That pursuit guided many of the scoping decisions for the renovation and restoration of the combined 1911 and 1959 vintage structures that will house the school. The historic tax credit process is mainly a linear one with required submission and review schedules, but towards the end of our construction document phase we encountered a challenge in that process that tested our agility. The project is largely an adaptive re-use of

Technology in Construction

Insight Construction

Arrowstreet relies on field reports to document the construction process on our projects. Visiting the site and making note of conditions, progress, and (occasionally) problems takes a lot of time and careful planning to manage the issues and archive the images. As the Brooke Mattapan Charter School addition/renovation enters the construction phase, we’re going to do something a little differently – using an option through Newforma (our project information management software) that allows use of a mobile app on an iPhone or iPad to immediately capture, track, and log project photos as we walk through the space. Taking advantage of new technology will speed the process even more; for instance by using the iPhone’s Siri we will be able to add text to whatever image is taken and avoid the pesky old-fashioned drag of writing notes and downloading everything once you return to the office. We look forward to never again having to invent a description of a detail that we don’t recall photographing!

Stair Reconstruction

Design Inspiration

In the center of the Edward Brooke Mattapan Charter School is a unique egress stair, an anomaly compared to what is a necessary, yet nondescript, element of many buildings. In much commercial construction, egress stairs are designed solely for the logistical purpose of getting occupants out in the event of an emergency. In schools, however, while still providing that code-required functionality, egress stairs also serve as arteries for student movement. Since these stairs are central to a school’s vertical circulation patterns, considering the spatial qualities of an egress stair is just as important as making sure that it is code-compliant…

The EpiCenter To Expand

Insight Design

Artists for Humanity will be expanding their studio space in South Boston with the gift of land by Gillette. It’s hard to believe the EpiCenter we designed for AFH (Boston’s first LEED Platinum building) opened almost nine years ago now. They have grown to employ more than 250 teen artists. Arrowstreet has continued to work with AFH over the years, including generating ideas for how they could expand…

Building Information Marveling

Insight Design

Perhaps it’s the inner BIM (Building Information Modeling) geek in me, but I’m constantly impressed while looking at the construction document level MEP models that our engineers generate. While there is a certain level of mundanity to the subject matter, there is also an elegance that stems from being able to visualize the entirety of the air and hydronic systems in a building in three dimensions. The models at this stage of development are notable because they represent the many hours of thought and effort from the engineering disciplines all consolidated into one digital representation…

Brooke Mattapan Charter School


We’re excited to announce the start of construction for the new Brooke Mattapan Charter School that will be opening in the fall of 2014. This K-8 school is an expansion of the extremely successful program that the Brooke School is currently operating in Roslindale, and the staff and students who will occupy the Mattapan site will be relocating from a temporary space elsewhere in Boston…

Engehoej Kirke

Insight Design

I recently visited the beautiful and striking Enghǿj Kirke (church) in the northern part of Jutland, in Denmark. The building’s minimal form and details create a space that, while much smaller, recalls the volumetric feel of a cathedral. The inverted ‘V’ shape of the structure is meant to reference the underside of a ship, an apt reference in a country where the sea is only ever 45 minutes away. While one might expect that these elements (starkness and ships) be unique to this building, they are in fact prevalent in most Danish churches. The last two photographs, from a neighboring 16th century church, clearly illustrate these similarities.

Fenway High School
Senior Science Fair


Last December, Matt Rice and I spent a morning helping out as judges for the Fenway High School Senior Science Fair. It was a fun venture out of the office, a way to get involved with the community, and a great way to get to know some of the students, since Arrowstreet is currently designing a renovation and addition to their school. The science fair was held at the Museum of Science with several dozen seniors presenting their experiments. We were given a rubric and an overview of the grading, then were sent off to inquire about students’ work. While there are too many great examples to list, I specifically remember one student who studied the effect of hair coloring products on the strength of hair; a study which has some potential to be quite useful in applications outside of the classroom. I’m excited to see what next year’s seniors come up with.

Excel Academy Gala

Insight Studio
Rendering by Arrowstreet
Rendering by Arrowstreet

Last week Larry Spang, George Tremblay, and I had the pleasure of attending a fund raising celebration that was put on by Excel Academy Charter Schools. Excel serves the Boston area with three individual middle schools, one of which is a recently completed Arrowstreet project. With the recent approval of their charter expansion, they also plan to open a high school in the near future…

Arrowstreet’s Work Featured in the BBJ


The Boston Business Journal honored KIPP Academy Lynn earlier this week with their Best in Real Estate award earlier this week.  Here is the corresponding article.

KIPP Academy Lynn Wins BBJ Award

Photo by Ed Wonsek
Photo by Ed Wonsek

It was announced today that Arrowstreet’s KIPP Academy Lynn project was awarded the 2013 Boston Business Journal’s Best in Boston Real Estate Award for “Community Impact.”

The award is recognition of the fantastic impact that the KIPP program has had on the lives of its students and their families.  The new facility has allowed the KIPP program to expand their middle school program and extend the experience for their students through high school, with both the middle and high schools being combined in the new building.

Congratulations to the entire project team!

Library Design at Fenway High School

Construction Inspiration

We’re currently working with Fenway High School to renovate an existing school building for their program, including a sizable library. This created a challenge for us, as the existing building layout is long and narrow, with a central hallway – not ideal for a library space. Our solution was to utilize the wide hallway to create a unique cross-corridor library with a central reading room and circulation spine…

Sustainability at KIPP Academy Lynn

Insight Construction

Earth month seems like a good point to reflect on the recently completed and now fully occupied KIPP Academy Lynn project in Lynn, MA. Part of the challenge associated with designing this project was making the school comfortable during the warmer months without the luxury of having a budget that could support full air conditioning. While oftentimes this problem is lamented, we saw it as an opportunity to be creative with the building systems and fenestration to provide low-energy, passive, and (most importantly) low-first cost climate control…

KIPP Academy Lynn Is BBJ Finalist


The Boston Business Journal will celebrate the Best in Boston Real Estate on May 23rd. KIPP Academy Lynn, a new ground up charter school we finished last year, is a finalist in the Community Impact category. Congratulations to all of the finalists, and join us at the event.

Combined Jewish Philanthropies Annual Dinner

Studio People

Later this month, Arrowstreet is sponsoring a dinner hosted by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies honoring our long-time client, Stephen R. Karp, Chairman and CEO of New England Development. The event will be held Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. at the Intercontinental in Boston.

A Time to Look Back

Construction Studio

The start of a new year brings optimism and refreshed energy for the future, and also a chance to look back on accomplishments from the previous year. 2012 was a busy year at Arrowstreet. We celebrated the opening of two new charter schools in the Boston metro area, the corporate headquarters for Rechler Equity in Long Island, White Elephant Village Inn in Nantucket, a T-station garage and cool new bridge in Revere, and an LL Bean store in Danbury. The Arrowstreet construction banner was flying high in 2012…

New Photography at KIPP Academy Lynn

Insight Construction

We’re happy to share this new photography of the new KIPP Academy Lynn, which just opened for the 2012 school year. Working with the dedicated staff at KIPP was a unique experience: the school is one of a network of charter schools across the country that follow a rigorous academic program that focuses on getting their students into and through college, and on developing character right alongside educational goals. The program has been very successful – 89% of the most recent class matriculated to college compared to 41% of their underprivileged peers nationwide…

Understanding Charter School Facility Development

Insight Design

Yesterday morning I was part of a fascinating panel discussion on the critical issues associated with the development of charter school facilities. The workshop was sponsored by Build with Purpose, Nonprofit Finance Fund, and Boston Community Capital, who were recently jointly awarded a $3.3 million federal Credit Enhancement grant to support the development of high quality charter school facilities throughout the northeast. The panel featured experts in charter school finance, law, architecture, and real estate development in an interactive discussion about the process of developing new school facilities…

Artists for Humanity in Improper Bostonian

Photo by Li Ward for Lisa Rigby Photography
Photo by Li Ward for Lisa Rigby Photography

Improper Bostonian recently ran a feature on unique places to hold weddings and their reception, and included Artists for Humanity EpiCenter. Part of our design for the LEED Platinum EpiCenter included an open gallery that could be rented out as event space to help fund the non-profit’s mission. In the years since it’s opened, AFH has seen not just weddings, but corporate events, holiday parties, and gala receptions and auctions. Check out AFH’s rental information page for more photos of the event space in action.