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Courthouse to Culture House

Scope

Programming & Concept Design

Location

Massachusetts

Design Team

Mary Park, Susi Sanchez

Collaborators

Silverman Trykowski Associates, Boston Society of Architects

Completed

2022

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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