A hundred clients, colleagues, former staff, friends and family joined us last week in a celebration of Studio G’s first 20 years. As Studio G Principal Tamar Warburg noted, we architects spend much of our time in the future: planning and designing what will be. It was, therefore, all the more important to us to reflect on the significance of this moment, and it meant a great deal that so many people shared it with us.
Reflecting on Our First 20 Years
Three seminal projects served as key building blocks in Studio G’s history, and established focal points in our design practice.
- Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative asked me to plan a community center with neighborhood youth. With seventy five kids signed up, I organized 10 architects and planners to help. Dudley’s Young Architects and Planners project took off, establishing one of the building blocks of our studio: designing with and for youth.
- Kit Clark Senior Services asked if I would plan the renovation of their Codman Square building. We began a 15 year collaboration on multiple projects, and laid a second building block of Studio G: designs for seniors.
- In an interview with NSCAP Head Start, I held my breath as I told NSCAP that the project would cost more than their $90,000 budget. To my surprise, they hired us anyway, the Children’s Investment Fund supported them, and a third building block of Studio G was set: designs for young children.
Studio G has grown a lot in our first 20 years: from 2 to 12 staff members and from one key person to a firm with four principals. We’ve moved out of the basement in terms of design and up to the green rooftops, and are working at the forefront of modular design for schools and other public buildings.
It Takes a Village
We deeply appreciate our clients’ passion for their work, whether caring for young children or seniors, educating the next generation, or providing the shelter and economic development that builds vibrant and viable communities. Our passion is helping create the places that support these visions. While we couldn’t recognize every client, we recognized a few members of our ‘village.’
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, for rebuilding their community in a democratic and sustaining way, by engaging residents, business owners and youth in creating their future and overseeing its realization. We continue a collaboration begun 20 years ago.
NSCAP Head Start, and the Children’s Investment Fund, which funded them. With that first project, they inspired a long-standing focus on designing early learning spaces, both indoors and out.
Kit Clark Senior Services for tireless commitment to providing Boston’s seniors with meals, activities, health care and so much more; and
Rockland Senior Center, for allowing us to continue to design community spaces for seniors.
Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation for its efforts to build a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable community in Jamaica Plain, as at 270 Centre Street on which we collaborated.
Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, which promotes and supports first-time homebuyers throughout the state for the willingness to embrace new ideas in the creation of their new green offices.
MIT Technology Children’s Center and Center for Work and Family, committed to design excellence for the youngest learners, for an incredible collaboration over more than a decade.
Mass. Department of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance (DCAMM), for its commitment to planning and design in the public interest and to public buildings that lead the way in sustainability.
Mass. Department of Housing & Community Development, a critical player in ensuring that quality affordable housing is developed and maintained across the state for sharing our commitment to sustainable public housing.
Sturgis Charter High School, innovative educators who embraced innovative design and construction for their new building.
Boston Latin School, YouthCAN and The Shared Green Roof Learning Center, which inspired us to reach new heights in sustainable learning environments.
The Next 20: Launching The Sustainable Communities Institute
The values that drive our work have remained remarkably consistent:
- Architecture is a service; we design for the public interest
- Design should engage people and build community, both in the process and in the space we design
- Architecture is transformative
- Truly sustainable design must encompasses environmental, social and economic aspects
For the past 20 years, working from those values, Studio G has served as more than an architecture firm. People approach us with visionary ideas for transformative models of sustainability. Such ambitious projects can rarely secure funding. We have donated planning and design services to give shape to a few of these visions. We think such efforts to give form to truly sustainable design and visionary efforts that explore the boundaries of what is possible is critical for our shared future. Studio G announced the launch of The Sustainable Communities Institute to fund and support these kinds of forward-reaching projects that otherwise would not be brought to fruition. Stay tuned for more information on this new development.
Thank you all in our Studio G community for your support and guidance these last 20 years!