The Boston AIA is moving into a newly constructed space, designed by a member firm, that presents a more accessible, more open, and more inviting organization. Even their name has been renovated, replacing the dignified but stodgy sounding Boston Society of Architects with the sleeker BSA acronym.
Howeler + Yoon won the competition to design the center, named BSA Space, which will include gallery, office, multimedia and meeting spaces for members, potential members and the general public. The two story, 17,000 square foot center will give the BSA a very public presence in an area with lots of foot traffic among restaurants, stores, and public transportation in the Fort Point Channel district.
Since the majority of the BSA’s functions are on the second floor, the designers used a dramatic green stairway and dynamic ceilings to guide eyes—and feet—in and up. Organic shaped pods (signature design elements of the firm) house conference and meeting rooms, and also lead visitors around the open gallery space. A band of LED signage and digital projections animate the stairway wall.
Howeler + Yoon suggested expanding the gallery space and giving the public areas larger and more prominent space, a reversal of the usual office layout. The architects also proposed ideas for using mobile methods of communication like smart phone applications that give information about Boston architecture.