BAC Studio Collaborates with Cambridge Arts Council to Make Arts More Visible and Accessible

Advanced Master of Architecture Students Design a Proposal for an Urban Arts Center in Cambridge, MA

BAC Master of Architecture students working in a discussion group with Lillian Hsu, director of public art, Cambridge Arts Council

Master of Architecture students working in a discussion group with Lillian Hsu, director of public art, Cambridge Arts Council. Photo by Allison Postlethwait

Boston Architectural College (BAC) advanced Master of Architecture students are stepping outside of the classroom and into the community to make the arts more visible, more relevant, and more accessible. Under the instruction of David T. De Celis, a principal at DCM Design, students in Architecture Studio 4 are developing proposals for a charter school and community center for visual and performing arts in Central Square in Cambridge, MA during the Spring 2015 semester.

On Monday, March 2, BAC students met with local visual and performing art leaders at the Cambridge Arts Council for a design charrette to brainstorm a wish-list for an ideal urban center for the arts. Members in attendance included:

  • Lace Campbell, director and producer for Beyond the 4th Wall
  • Sarah Carrier, landscape architect 
  • Peter DeMuro, director of the Dance Complex
  • Jeremy Gaucher, public art administrator, Cambridge Arts Council
  • Lillian Hsu, director of public art, Cambridge Arts Council
  • Mela Lyman, painter and Cambridge resident
  • Rika McMally, director of art conservation, Cambridge Arts Council

Participants broke into discussion groups led by BAC students to examine what spatial elements work well in public art spaces, what image an arts school needs to project, how to build a space that brings joy to the arts experience, and how to make arts more visible in Cambridge.

This is the fourth year David De Celis has been instructing this studio; however, this is the first year the studio is a public collaboration. "I have always wanted to do a design charrette between the community and my students," commented David. "It is a great way for young designers to get exposure to working with clients and stakeholders for a public space."

Students will incorporate these ideas to design a proposal for Central Square. In the studio, students will explore the flexibility of spaces, specifically how different disciplines, such as art, dance, design, music, and more, can be infused within the building. "Central Square in Cambridge is becoming a cultural center," stated David. "Through the studio, students will learn how to make a visual statement of the role of arts in a community."

David and the Cambridge Arts Council will be inviting Cambridge city counselors and school committee members to participate in a round robin review of the proposals at the end of the semester.