Roxbury residents and architects alike consider local planners’ designs for the future of Dudley Square, each one presenting its own world of possibilities, at a recent community event held at Hibernian Hall. (Micah Nemiroff photo)
Imagine a new Dudley Square, with a thriving farmer’s market at its center and bus routes crisscrossing underneath the streets, providing more efficient public transportation while easing the snarl of congestion and traffic.
Picture a state-of-the-art community center, accented by verdant terraces and powered by reusable electricity, or a group of community farms sprouting from urban roots of concrete and steel, a unique economic and ecological model for creating green space deep in the heart of the Hub.
Asked to bring to life those and other new visions for the city’s 1.8-acre Dudley Square parcel, a group of area architectural design teams shared their work at a pair of recent events at Roxbury’s Hibernian Hall.
The first, a “community charrette” held in mid-April, gave designers and young architects an opportunity to display their work in its early stages and participate in a workshop that enabled members of the Roxbury community to offer feedback on the designs.
The second, held last Saturday, honored the four winning design proposals. Awards of $5,000 were presented in the Innovative Green Design and Best Community Building Initiative categories, with $10,000 going to the winners of the Best Building Design and Best Urban/Site Design contests.
The announcement of the four winners was the culmination of a design competition hosted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the Common Boston initiative and the Boston Society of Architects, the largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Local designers were invited to offer strategies for redeveloping the Dudley Square parcel, which the city says will become available with the removal of two vacant buildings on Dudley Street and the relocation of the Boston Police Department’s Area B-2 substation to Washington Street. Proposals were asked to include a sustainable design with mixed uses, “including active ground-floor retail, upper-story commercial office uses and active open spaces,” and to “include innovative program and design ideas” appropriate to Dudley Square’s unique location, according to a March 2008 BRA announcement.
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