Archives: 2011


This article discusses one of our arguments for more creative and challenging play structures.  They should be safe, but they don’t have to be boring.  Any design problem includes the tug-of-war between aesthetics and function. The design of play structures is no different.  They should be both visually stimulating and cognitively challenging.  This article discusses how ‘modern’ play structures have been adversely affected by legal and safety standards throughout the years to the point where they are becoming obsolete.


The Blues transcended from a secluded rural environment to a dense urban one, and eventually to an international arena, without losing its roots.  This project utilizes contemporary “traces” to tell the story.  By no means complete, the Blues Histogram weaves cultural, genealogical, technological and migrational lineages into a unified and tangible format.

Neighborhood Memory

We recently ran across the Ghost Houses by curb architects Ted Shelton and Tricia Stuth in Tennessee.  This project recreates two new historic sibling homes along side a third existing historic house. Using memories embedded in photographs, newspaper articles, longtime neighborhood resident accounts, and census data they re-presented what once was in a beautiful dialogue of now and then.

Modern Playhouse for Tampa Benefit

Our second constructed cubePLAY structure was done for a benefit in Tampa, FL to raise fund for the Outdoors Foundation. A local daycare secured the winning auction bid!



Stuff-We-Find-in-Historic-Buildings #2: On Preservation and Pornography at the Hayden Building

This is the second in an occasional series that chronicles HBI’s growing collection of found items in the historic buildings where we work. We launched this series in February with a focus on the Roxbury Action Program’s years at the historic Alvah Kittredge House. This post looks at Chinatown’s Hayden Building.


HBI is pleased to announce the selection of CUBE Design + Research as the architectural team that will be responsible for designing the upper story residential units at the 1875 Hayden Building. Last week CUBE’s principals Jason Hart, Chris Johns and Aaron Malnarick presented a compelling proposal to HBI staff and board members on how they would handle the design of the units while dealing with challenging structural bracing and circulation patterns unique to the long and narrow building footprint…. more



University of Massachusetts Lowell Dormitory proposal   |   Collaboration with DiMella Shaffer



Lowell, MA



University of Massachusetts



500 bed dormitory


A new dormitory to house 500 students on the University of Massachusetts campus in Lowell.  The proposal seeks to establish a distinct pedestrian corridor by uniting the north and south campuses with its segregated and expanding east campus.  Taking cues from local mill buildings, the dorm is expressed as a sinuous masonry form with a raised central quadrangle concealing the parking below.


We helped our friends at Aspinwall Partners prepare a logo for the MIT Center for Real Estate Competition.  Fairly self-explanatory, but for the sake of being post-worthy, the pixels stack to build the word ‘case’ alluding to the hand of the developer.



Boston City Hall Redevelopment Proposal

–By Patrick Lausell–

Boston City Hall Plaza is a void of urban vigor. This lack of public social interaction is not due to the vastness of the space or to its aesthetic qualities. The problem is a result of a space largely without program. The plaza does not interact programmatically with the buildings that define it. City Hall Plaza is mostly composed of edge conditions designed to keep people out. The original BRA Urban Renewal Plan identifies a crucial element for the success of City Hall Plaza. It states that ‘the buildings around it should programmatically and spatially engage the plaza,’ yet the resulting design does not meet the requirements. Was there a lack of communication between the planners and the designers, or was it a lack of understanding of how internal building functions generate public activity?
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