Chelsea Architects Design New Social Center

April 7, 2011
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The award-winning Chelsea architecture and master planning firm the Architectural Team has announced the ribbon-cutting of New England’s largest new social services center, The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

The 90,000-square-foot, $35 million brick-and-masonry building is another example of the Chelsea based firm’s long standing commitment to  revitalizing and transforming some of America’s most challenged urban areas.

Robert Verrier, president of the firm which is located on Admiral’s Hill in the Georgian Commandant’s Home, said he was pleased with this project.

“This a great beginning for much bigger things to follow,” said Verrier.

Situated on a 6-acre site adjacent to a newly renovated commuter rail station, the building restores a long-neglected neighborhood, replacing empty lots and derelict buildings with an engaging new intergenerational facility whose design is a product of community involvement.

According to the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, the building symbolizes a new dawn for a community ravaged by decades of arson, disinvestment, neglect and redlining. In addition to three gyms, a pool and a soccer field, the facility incorporates a learning center, library, auditorium, music room, chapel, and recording studio.

The light-filled environment reinforces an “indoor village” feel as well as intuitive wayfinding through the facility. Thoughtful details further support the sense of the outside brought within, from exterior light fixtures which continue into the main lobby and out the back door, to a two-story tube water slide in the natatorium, which weaves outside and back into the building to return laughing children. The building is finished in glass, brick, tile, metal panels and concrete block – a varied material palette reflecting Dorchester’s diversity.

For The Architectural Team, a firm of 55 employees, this is the largest and most sophisticated of its portfolio of community/athletic centers.

“The Architectural Team has always been committed to design endeavors that revitalize neighborhoods and bring much needed access to the underserved. Every participant in this collaborative process took great care to ensure the community received an inspired result,” said Mark J. Rosenshein, lead designer and Senior Project Manager,

The Architectural Team was founded in 1971 and had a broad portfolio of distinctive design solutions earning 75-plus awards for design excellence. The firm is renowned for new construction of large urban mixed-use developments, residential, commercial, hospitality and recreational facilities, as well as a national reputation in the area of historic preservation and adaptive reuse.


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