MASS MoCA Turns 20!

Happy 20th Birthday, MASS MoCA!

Bruner/Cott has been working on the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art since its inception. Housed in a vast 17-acre industrial complex built in the late 1800s for the Arnold Print Works company, the museum was completed in three phases, initially opening to international acclaim in 1999 with 125,000 square feet. Today, the museum comprises 280,000 square feet of galleries, performing arts venues, video/multimedia spaces, and commercial rental units.

MASS MoCA has become ingrained in our firm’s history and has served as a model for other adaptive reuse projects. In a recent interview with ArchDaily, Bruner/Cott Principals Jason Forney, Jason Jewhurst, and Dana Kelly offer insider perspectives on the genesis of MASS MoCA.

Over the last thirty years, it has become a testing ground for our practice—in developing ways of weaving old and new together in a more dynamic way than it is typically done. Our co-founder, Simeon Bruner, and one of our principals, Henry Moss, began working with MASS MoCA in the 1980s. Their initial ideas evolved and became intrinsic to the next generation in our firm. Often, historical architecture is preserved as is or taken down to start building from scratch. Our goal is to keep the right amount of old and add the new so that the result is appropriate, sensitive, and coherent.

— Jason Forney, AIA, LEED AP, Principal

Read more, here.

 

 

 

ArchDaily Interview with Bruner/Cott

Bruner/Cott Principals Jason Forney, Jason Jewhurst, and Dana Kelly sat down with Vladimir Belogolovsky of ArchDaily to discuss the firm’s innovative history of work, inspirations, and the direction of the practice.

For us, every project is about moving forward. Any building project can be viewed as reuse because they all have a site and context that will be transformed by what’s to come. We strive to design buildings constructed out of solid, local, beautiful materials and push the current building industry standards to produce a robust sustainable architecture that will age gracefully over time.   — Jason Jewhurst, AIA

Read the full interview here.

Keeping Up With The R.W. Kern Center: Part 1

It has almost been a full year since the R.W. Kern Center became a certified Living-Building, allowing us to observe and analyze its performance. Over the next month, architect Christopher Nielson, AIA, LEED AP will be analyzing the % wood moisture data from the R.W. Kern Center to see what lessons we can learn.

He and his team have been tracking the % moisture content of the wood framing in the walls to understand if and how moisture moves through a double-stud assembly. The wall assembly contains a permeable moisture barrier on the outside and relies upon the paint and caulk layer as the an interior moisture barrier. The idea is that the wall will get wetter in the winter seasons, but dry back out in the summer months.

Check back soon for updates!

 

Pink hues are exterior plywood and blue hues are interior wall framing.

MASS MoCA Documentary to Premiere at SXSW Film Festival

South by Southwest Conference & Festivals (SXSW) announced that it will include “Museum Town,” a character-driven portrait of the largest center for contemporary art in the world – MASS MoCA.

Directed by Jennifer Trainer Thompson and narrated by Oscar-winner, Meryl Streep,  the film will make its world debut featured in the festival’s Documentary Feature category of the SXSW film festival as one of only ten films selected.

“Museum Town” depicts what Thompson calls a “rocky road” to the museum’s opening in the former Massachusetts factory town, including “a knotted confluence of politics and a post-industrial city in decline and the art world.”

The film delivers the magic of MASS MoCA and North Adams to a global audience for the first time, ever. The festival will take place in Austin, TX this March and is one of the greatest gatherings of creative professionals in the world.

Read more from the Berkshire Eagle

SXSW Abstract of Museum Town:

In 2017, MASS MoCA became the largest center for contemporary art in the world. This is the story of a unique institution, the small town it calls home, and the great risk, hope, and power of art to generate cultural and economic rebirth. With original music by Wilco bassist John Stirratt and appearances by artists ranging from James Turrell to David Byrne to Bill T. Jones, Museum Town reveals how an idea becomes a reality, tracing the creation of artist Nick Cave’s monumental installation UNTIL, a reflection on gun violence, race, and the American Dream.

Soundtracked by Talking Heads, Sharon Jones, Big Thief, Wilco, Moses Sumney, and many more. With the voice of Meryl Streep.

More about Museum Town at SXSW.

 

USGBCMA & Dr. Joseph Allen Talk Healthy Buildings at BCA

Bruner/Cott recently had the honor of hosting the USGBCMA’s Health and Wellness Roundtable, a venue for architects, designers, construction managers, and sustainability professionals to discuss issues related to healthy buildings.

The event took place in our new studio space and featured a special guest speaker — Dr. Joseph Allen, Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Allen’s research reveals how air, temperature, lighting, and noise can impact our overall health. One specific facet of his work, the Cogfx study, has been instrumental in the A/E/C industry.

Topics covered during this roundtable event included Dr. Allen’s three Cogfx studies and their impacts on the healthy building movement, how we can make health an explicit factor in decision-making processes, and ways in which industry and practice can benefit and support academic research to advance the cause of the healthy building movement. The discussion was followed by an engaging Q & A session with Dr. Allen.

Thank you to all who attended the event, as well as the USGBCMA for putting on the event and Dr. Joseph Allen for joining us as our featured guest.

Pictured in group photo, left to right: Dr. Joseph Allen (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), Meredith Elbaum (Executive Director, USGBCMA), Rachelle Ain, AIA, WELL AP (Bruner/Cott), Jennifer Taranto (Structuretone), Heather Henriksen (Managing Director, Harvard Sustainability), and Jason Jewhurst, AIA (Principal, Bruner/Cott).

Bruner/Cott Named in 10th Annual ARCHITECT 50

Bruner/Cott is honored to again have been ranked in the 10th annual ARCHITECT 50.

The publication calculated scores within three categories to create an overall ranking; business, sustainability, and design. Out of this year’s 160 submissions, Bruner/Cott was named #36 overall, ranking #8 in sustainability, #71 in design, and #112 in business. The firm’s composite score was 82.7 out of 100 possible points.

This year, ARCHITECT revisited its methodology for calculating its sustainability ranking, resulting in a wide array of firms scaling the charts. Sustainability scores were calculated based on the following breakdown:

  • 17% – AIA 2030 Commitment
  • 17% – Energy and water metrics
  • 06% – Employee Certifications
  • 20% – Building Certifications
  • 40% – Score for the green project that best demonstrated a firm’s commitment to sustainability

We are thrilled to be recognized as leaders in sustainable design and are in great company among the other ranking firms.

Previous Years’ Rankings:

2018

  • Top 50 Overall: #36
  • Business: #112
  • Sustainability: #8
  • Design: #71

2017

  • Top 50 Overall: #14
  • Business: #48
  • Sustainability: #20
  • Design: #38

2016

  • Sustainability: #38

2015

  • Top 50 Overall: #46
  • Sustainability: #39

 

To learn more about the ARCHITECT methodology for computing this year’s ranking, click here.

To view Bruner/Cott’s firm page on the ARCHITECT 50 rankings, click here.

Bruner/Cott Named an AIA New England Emerging Professional Friendly Firm

We are thrilled to announce that Bruner/Cott Architects has been named a 2018 Emerging Professional Friendly Firm by AIA New England!

This award, sponsored by New England’s Young Architect Regional Director (YARD) and Regional Associates Director (RAD), recognizes firms in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont who display an outstanding commitment to the development of their Emerging Professional staff. An Emerging Professional (EP) is defined by the AIA as a student, recent graduate, or architect licensed within the last ten years. A committee reviewed submitted survey responses from firms throughout the AIA New England region and granted “Emerging Professional Friendly” status to those who displayed exceptional levels of commitment to the professional development of their EP staff.

For the small firm category, a score of 28 points was required to meet the Friendly Firm status. Of the responding firms, the category average was 33.9 points. Bruner/Cott Architects earned 39 points.

Congratulations to all Emerging Professional Friendly Firms!

Smith Campus Center Reviewed in Boston Globe

The opening of the newly-renovated Richard A. & Susan F. Smith Campus Center has had the Harvard community buzzing with excitement.

A thoughtful, yet radical, reappraisal of the original architecture of Josep Lluis Sert (1902-1983), the new Smith Center is part of Harvard’s ‘Common Spaces’ program pioneered by Harvard President Emeritus, Drew Faust.

Recently, Robert Campbell of The Boston Globe had a chance to visit the Smith Center and share his thoughts;

“…you never lose touch with the city outdoors as your near neighbor, because you can see it looking back at you through so many glass walls and windows. Pedestrian bridges span the space and lead you to roof terraces. Most amazing are what Harvard calls the “green walls”: vertical gardens that hang on the walls and look like hedges but never touch the ground. You wander freely as if you were in an urban landscape rather than an enclosed interior.”

Read the full Boston Globe review here.

Frost Terrace Affordable Housing Awarded State Funding

On July 25, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced the recipients of this year’s affordable rental housing awards, which will provide $57 million in direct subsidies for 19 high-impact projects to fund the development, renovation and preservation of much-needed housing opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.

Among this year’s awardees is Frost Terrace (1791 Mass Ave.), a transit-oriented new construction project for families. Bruner/Cott is working on this 40-unit affordable housing project in the Porter Square neighborhood of Cambridge, MA with sponsor, Capstone Communities. All units will be affordable to households earning less than 60% of the area median income (AMI), with four units reserved for households earning less than 30% of AMI.

Additional project funding for Frost Terrace will derive from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and subsidy funds via the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and city trust funds through the City of Cambridge.

“Across our Commonwealth, more and more young families are finding they are not able to put down roots, seniors are not able to age in their communities, and hard-working residents are spending more of their paychecks and precious time traveling further to get to their jobs,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary, Janelle Chan.  “Today’s awards will enable communities to grow with their residents, and be a part of a state-wide and regional response to the affordable housing crisis.”

Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration for this award and your continued commitment to creating affordable to low- and middle- income housing across the state of Massachusetts. We are thrilled to be among the 19 deserving recipients who are transforming their communities and providing vital resources for their neighborhoods.

To learn more about the affordable rental housing awards, click here.

 

Next Steps for Living Village at Yale Divinity School

Bruner/Cott completed a comprehensive study for a new regenerative ‘Living Village’ at Yale Divinity School (YDS), in association with McLennan Design and Andropogon. Designed to meet the Living Building Challenge 3.0 at an unprecedented scale, the new residential complex for living and learning would demonstrate environmental leadership at the highest level and serve as a replicable model for other divinity schools, places of worship, and academic institutions worldwide.

In December, Yale Divinity School received a $2 million contribution from supporters George and Carol Bauer to bring the 127,000 sf residential community to fruition. This gift has allowed YDS to re-engage Bruner/Cott and McLennan Design to design and create the detailed plans for a net-positive housing complex intended to educate its students on sustainable living practices. The project aims to transform how every college and university thinks about residential buildings in the future.

“We are deeply grateful to George and Carol for their generosity in supporting the vision of the Living Village… Thanks to the generosity of the Bauers and the talent and commitment of the design team we’ve assembled, YDS is poised to make history.” – Yale Divinity School Dean Greg Sterling

As described in the 2016 study, the complex is being designed to meet the various imperatives of the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green-building certification program, created by project partner Jason McLennan of McLennan Design. The Living Village is expected to house 150 students in below-market-rate residential units, ranging from single “monastic” rooms to two-bedroom apartments for families. Additionally, the complex will likely include classroom space, a small chapel, study areas, a fitness center, and other community spaces such as yoga and meditation rooms, small-group kitches, a cafe, and community dining rooms.

Bruner/Cott and McLennan Design will present conceptual designs to the greater YDS community at Convocation and Reunions in October.

“Above all… we expect the Living Village to stand as a resounding expression of our theoretically rooted commitment to conserving the Earth’s resources and creating a more sustainable future.” – YDS Dean Greg Sterling

Having just received Living Building Certification for the R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College, Bruner/Cott is extremely excited to progress with this landmark project and is honored to be a part of the design team selected by YDS.

Read the complete announcement from Yale Divinity School.