KVA designed the urban campus buildings for the North Bennet Street School, (NBSS) an internationally recognized learning center for the advancement of traditional hand craft and industrial arts. The design challenges for this 70,000 GSF project were to link two abandoned municipal buildings sited over the Callahan Tunnel infrastructure, unify the School’s extensive workshops, studios and administration under one roof, and create a vibrant new model for urban craft production and small-scale manufacturing in a dense residential city neighborhood.

KVA’s design for the NBSS in Boston’s North End is organized around two public spaces with reciprocal urban orientations. The Outdoor Room, a courtyard void in the urban fabric, integrates the School’s new ventilation infrastructure, provides natural light and creates an informal work yard for deliveries, recycling and outdoor fabrication. The Indoor Room, a new construction, connects the different floor levels of the adjacent buildings with a new elevator and grand stair. The design creates a two-story interior public venue that overlooks the city skyline, providing space for concerts, gatherings and exhibitions. Below, a new public entry provides a flexible gallery space and street front retail.

Classrooms, collaboration and exhibition space and leasable Tech Shop facilities are integrated with specialized teaching studios and workshops for fine carpentry, furniture making, book binding, violin and piano making and jewelry crafts. Energy for NBSS is offset by a rooftop solar array tied to the urban grid and the campus is LEED certifiable. KVA’s design for the North Bennet Street School helps to promote public engagement in craft education, creative making and entrepreneurship and local, urban manufacturing.

Date: 2013
Status: Completed
Client: North Bennet Street School
Location: Boston, MA
Design Team:
Frano Violich, FAIA: Managing Principal in Charge
Sheila Kennedy, FAIA: Principal Consulting on Design
Buck Sleeper: Project Manager
Greg Burchard, AIA: Project Architect
Jeremy Burke, Galo Canizares, Nelson Crosby, Seth Hoffman, Justin Hui, Mandy Johnson, Jeff Mansfield, Jim Peraino, Jenny Russell, Diana Tomova, Ben Widger
Architect: Kennedy & Violich Architecture. Ltd
Construction Management: Bond Brothers
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
MEP/FP Engineer: Buro Happold
Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering
Code Consultant: Hughes Associates, Inc
Geotechnical Engineer: GEI Consultants, Inc
Historic Preservation: Epsilon Associates

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North Bennet Street School