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Courthouse to Culture House


Programming & Concept Design



Design Team

Mary Park, Susi Sanchez


Silverman Trykowski Associates, Boston Society of Architects



Our vision for the transformation of the historical building began with reimagining a new, accessible entrance, one that would reposition the building's identity in the community as an arts and culture hub.

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Finding the right balance between preserving and building anew is critical. The former courthouse is a handsome building with a classical architectural language traditionally reserved for civic structures and intended to instill reverence and pride. Yet, like any courthouse, it is also a place where countless injustices likely took place and holds a painful history for many in the community. For the designer, the challenge is to find a balance that acknowledges the history while transforming the architecture into a welcoming, inclusive place. Translating these principles into the built environment is the most important design challenge to solve.

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The existing structure has two main (but not equal) entrances. We have proposed a single, main entrance for all—one that is accessible, welcoming and outwardly communicates the creative, community-driven practice and work happening inside.

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Our vision for the new culture center creates a new entrance pavilion, celebrating the new function of the building with color and welcoming materials, and gives back much-needed green space to the city street.

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