The Boston Architectural College was pleased to welcome Mayor Thomas M. Menino on the evening of Wednesday, September 4, to celebrate the opening of Dudley Square: A Community's Catalyst, an exhibition in the BAC's McCormick Gallery. The exhibition features the collaborative work of Sasaki Associates Inc. and Netherlands-based design firm Mecanoo to design a new municipal office building in Dudley Square. The new facility is a part of Mayor Thomas M. Menino's Dudley Square Vision Project, which seeks to revitalize the once-thriving urban neighborhood in Roxbury, MA. More than 200 guests were in attendance for the exhibition opening, which included a gallery reception and lecture.
"Mayor Menino has brought more affordable housing to the city, has done more to expand our parks system into communities and neighborhoods, has done more to raise the quality of learning outcomes in our public schools, and has done more for our physical infrastructure in this city, than I think any mayor in the history of the city has done," said BAC President Ted Landsmark. "This project will, I am certain, be viewed as a major legacy for this city and for this mayor."
The facility will preserve and incorporate the iconic Ferdinand Furniture Building, an emblem of the square's historic commercial vitality. The new 215,000-square-foot structure will become the headquarters of Boston Public Schools and will include green, state-of-the-art office space, retail, civic spaces, and meeting space for the community.
"Architects really have the chance not only to add square footage to our city, but also to add beauty, to help shape Boston's experience of city life," said Mayor Menino. "We're an old city, and a city that's growing, and we have to maintain Boston as it originally was as we blend in the new."
Victor Vizgaitis of Sasaki presented the lecture, using the new municipal office building in Dudley Square to explore the role of architecture as a means for fostering a more integrated, transparent, and collaborative environment. The opening reception was the first of a three-part public presentation series in conjunction with the exhibition. The next event is a lecture by Francine Houben of Mecanoo on Wednesday, September 25 at 6 pm, followed by a panel discussion on the unique intricacies of the Dudley Square Municipal Office Facility on Thursday, October 10 at 8:30 am. All events are free and open to the public and take place at the BAC, 320 Newbury Street. The exhibition will be open through October 25, as the BAC enters into its 125th year.
"It's great to be here for the kickoff of the 125th anniversary of the BAC," said Mayor Menino. "I'm proud to call the College a partner in so many things we do in the city, and I appreciate the work of the students in our neighborhoods."