In celebration of our 60th year, Arrowstreet looks to reflect and learn from our past while continuing to push forward and anticipate future trends.  Since our inception, Arrowstreet has continuously evolved, challenging ourselves to re-imagine typical building typologies. There is a spirit of equity on our project teams, where the combination of experience and talent has allowed us to stay at the forefront of the profession.  With our diverse studio perspectives and office culture, we harness our staff’s depth of knowledge and creative thinking to solve the building challenges across a wide range of sectors and building types. The firm’s projects reflect developing social patterns, business trends, and anticipated changes in the natural environment. As we move forward, we will continue to embrace new technology to enhance our design practice.

 

 

Research

Arrowstreet’s research practice has always been at the forefront of our design process. Our practices have expanded from new approaches in participatory design and community engagement as seen in the 1968 project, City Signs and Lights, to the 2014 report “Living with Water” addressing issues of climate change and resiliency, to present day when global pandemics present new challenges that we embrace and design practical solutions for our communities. We use a combination of tools and tactics–from data science and visualization to modeling of complex systems–to enable the buildings and places we design to keep up with the ever-increasing pace of change.

City Signs & Lights: In 1968, we developed and tested a city-wide policy for design and regulation of city signs, lights, and other possible information sources in the urban environment. It included the development of a coherent national system for regulatory and directional signs.

Living with Water: Sponsored by the Urban Land Institute Boston and The Kresge Foundation, Arrowstreet took a lead role in the day-long charrette and subsequent report for “The Urban Implications of Living with Water” initiative. “Living with Water” addresses the issues of climate change and resiliency in greater Boston and has served as a conversation starter for new strategies and available opportunities as we continue to develop our neighborhoods.

COVID Research: As part of Arrowstreet’s ongoing commitment to the built environment, we have been evaluating design in a post-pandemic world. Research is deeply embedded in our design process, and our work on this topic has begun to inform both thought leadership initiatives and active projects.

Sustainability

From our early work in 1981 for the Aliamanu Youth Activity Center to Artist for Humanities Epicenter, the first LEED Platinum building in Boston, to our recent Net Zero project in Cambridge, and the resiliency of Ora Seaport, Arrowstreet continues to incorporate practices of sustainability and resiliency into our designs. In our 60th year, we continue the tradition of fully engaging these practices into our healthy buildings that support our clients’ missions while enhancing the built environment.

Aliamanu Youth Activity Center: The complex was designed to utilize the favorable climate conditions, including high volumes (even for small spaces), orientation to wind currents, shading overhangs and grille work, and operating ridge vents.  The configuration was wind tunnel tested in order to by-pass DoD requirements which included requiring limited glazing and complete air conditioning.

Artists for Humanity: Arrowstreet was commissioned by Artists for Humanity to design a new, 22,500 SF headquarters and studio space in South Boston. An important project goal was to maximize renewable energy generation and to minimize energy consumption. A grant for the photovoltaic array was provided by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. This project is the first certified LEED Platinum building in Boston.

King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools: Arrowstreet, in association with William Rawn Associates, designed the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools. The project is designed to be net zero emissions and incorporates many energy efficiency technologies. Human comfort and health are also incorporated into the design through daylighting, material selections, and physical and visual connections with the outdoors.

Ora Seaport: Arrowstreet was the master planner and architect for this waterfront development in Boston’s Seaport. A primary focus of this project was to set a standard for community-oriented urban design that also addresses the resiliency challenges of the Seaport District. As one of the first Seaport developments to passively integrate flood-proofing into the design of the building, it offers a level of protection from rising tides and storm surges.

Interdisciplinary Design

Our strength comes from diversity. Arrowstreet’s design practice has evolved to incorporate planning, interior design, graphic design, data science, and visualization. The Interior Design Studio has been creating innovative and upscale experiences such as the Battery Wharf Hotel since the early stages of Arrowstreet’s existence. The Graphic Design Studio–established in 1995–has impacted neighborhoods and buildings throughout Boston with their work such as the 255 State Street Mural. More recently, projects such as Hildreth Elementary School and 1141 Bennington Street have brought multiple studios together – Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, and Data Science – to create state-of-the-art experiences for its users. The strength of our work comes from the intersection of our disciplines, creating design solutions that enhance the built environment and create value for our clients.

Battery Wharf Hotel: One of Boston’s most luxurious mixed-use developments located on the scenic North End waterfront. Arrowstreet’s interior design for the hotel component’s public spaces and guest rooms uses deep, rich woods to add warmth to a cool, contemporary setting.

255 State Street Mural: The Graphic Design Studio created a sculptural “sea glass” mural depicting swimming codfish, a subject close to the heart and history of Boston’s waterfront. Our designers worked with 12 shades of tumbled recycled glass pieces to assemble an original illustration by hand; a meticulous process that took nearly 100 hours to complete.

Hildreth Elementary School: By bringing together the Arrowstreet Architecture, Interiors, and Graphic Design studios this interdisciplinary team created a school which incorporates flexible learning spaces that accommodate large group, small group and individual learning experiences, as well as a STEM lab. This stimulating space will have students experiencing direct learning in innovative classrooms to learning moments from the graphics on the walls.

1141 Bennington Street: This mixed-use development provides 221 residential units and ground-level retail space with views and access to the nearby natural resources. With a variety of unit sizes, the project offers MBTA-accessible and inclusionary housing for families and commuters. The dynamic façade plays with light and shadows, changing throughout the day/season. All of this was made possible through the collaboration of the Architecture, Interior Design, Data Science, and Graphic Design teams.

Community Engagement

From our first office on Arrow Street in Harvard Square, to our Somerville office in Davis Square, to our current office in the thriving center of downtown Boston, Arrowstreet has been dedicated to bettering our local communities and beyond. In 1972, our non-profit consulting firm, Environmental Design Group Inc. (EDG), designed a masterplan to revitalize thirty blocks of downtown Washington DC through a program called Streets for People. In 2011, we worked with The Women’s Lunch Place to renovate the local women’s day shelter into a safe, warm, and inviting space that the guests can think of as home. In 2016, Hyde Square Task Force approached Arrowstreet to renovate their Youth Development Center leading to the creation of approximately 15,000 square feet of space dedicated to music, dance, and learning spaces for use by over 1200 youth and their families each year. This year, we were awarded a “Love your Block” grant to help a North End neighborhood group revitalize a prominent street plaza fronting the Rose Kennedy Greenway. We are excited to continue connecting with our neighbors and enhancing our community in new and innovative ways.

Streets for the People: Arrowstreet’s plan to revitalize thirty blocks of downtown Washington DC resulted in the Streets for People program which addresses all aspects of public environment including traffic patterns, pedestrian needs, transportation systems, commerce, and cultural events. The masterplan makes use of landscaped open spaces, fountains, street art, lighting systems, and information kiosks to enhance street life around the clock.

Women’s Lunch Place: Arrowstreet renovated a historic church basement and turned it into a community resource for homeless women with The Women’s Lunch Place. The design team created a restaurant-quality kitchen open to a new dining area that serves the non-profit’s guests and accommodates shelter fundraisers. The team also created new space for guest services including dedicated medical space, counseling offices, skills training, and a guest library.

Hyde Square Youth Center: Our renovations to the Hyde Square Youth Center created dynamic spaces for learning—from gaining academic skills to developing talents in a wide variety of performance arts. The three floors in the approximately 15,000 square foot building include special facilities for music and dance, as well as classroom and administrative office space.

Love Your Block: The Love Your Block initiative helps the North End neighborhood group activate a prominent street plaza fronting the Rose Kennedy Greenway. This project is a virtual narrative that is part of a dual civic engagement project where residents and visitors can offer tributes. Visitors will also be able to visit Cross Street Plaza “Story Benches” and add a “pin-up” on physical story boards there which Arrowstreet will help to design and construct.

Technology

From hand-drafting and bass wood models to computer modeling, virtual reality, generative design, and data science, technology has revolutionized our practice. While that pace of change continues to accelerate, we have always been a culture of early adopters, leveraging new technologies to more quickly iterate, prototype, and visualize design concepts. Ultimately, technology allows us to communicate our ideas more effectively while also reinventing the practice to create immersive experiences and interactive tools that our clients can use.

Prototyping: 3D modeling software and 3D printing technology allows us to quickly study, iterate, and refine, resulting in unique forms that push the boundaries of design. For Congress Square, we used rapid prototyping to develop a one-of-a-kind, sculptural FRP soffit that creates depth and texture as it floats above the existing cornice line of the historic building. Working with the fabricator to understand the system’s capabilities and limitations combined with our prototyping, we adjusted the frequency, proximity, depth, and arc of the various undulations to reflect light onto the street below. The final design is a unique, sculptural form designed to fit into standard building components with predictable construction methods.

Prefabricated Construction: Prefabricated construction has allowed us to shorten construction times while increasing the quality of our buildings with custom facades. At Hyatt Centric,  the unitized façade allowed us to meet the project’s highly detailed design intent while staying within budget and meeting an accelerated construction schedule. Strategic window placement creates an illusion of twisting around the building without changing the unit types on the inside. The façade fabrication created a unique construction benefit; while the concrete was being poured on the site, the fabrication of the brick façade panels was simultaneously in production. Once on site, the façade was installed in 13 days; significantly faster than traditional construction methods.

AR/VR: Arrowstreet’s Augmented and Virtual Reality practices allow us to create immersive environments that both enhance the design process and become experiences that augment the physical realities of our spaces. We seek ways to make the invisible, visible. Whether this is using VR and AR to visualize the impacts of climate change on a site  or immersing future occupants of our buildings into the spaces before they are built, these experiences allow others to gain a greater understanding of complex spatial designs and potential environmental impacts. We are looking toward the future – anticipating a day when we will all augment our physical realities with the virtual. As architects, graphic designers, UX designers, and interior designers we will be positioned to merge these two environments together.

App Development: Necessity is the mother of invention… Instead of waiting for software and app developers to create programs that meet our needs, we’ve taken it into our own hands. The Cumulus app was developed by Arrowstreet to communicate the most current design of a project to clients and our project teams for access whenever and wherever they want. The app allows clients, consultants, contractors, and community stakeholders to interact with the projects right from their devices in ways they never could before: with a direct link to a 3D model of the project, all the drawings and renderings and the ability to view the project as an AR tabletop model.  Teams have access to the entire project on their phones or Ipads and clients can spend more time with the projects than our typical weekly meeting format allows.

Placemaking

Placemaking is at the core of our foundation. Arrowstreet has always focused on understanding the potential of a site, as well as designing spaces that enhance, support their context, and contribute to the community.

Boston Architectural College: As Arrowstreet’s first ever project, Boston Architectural College, or BAC, provided a home for the preliminary night school of architecture in Back Bay. The exterior design reflects the interior functions. This design method created not only a memorable experience for the building users, but it also allowed this facility to become a prominent landmark within the context of greater downtown Boston. The BAC has long been considered one of the city’s foremost examples of modern architecture.

CambridgeSide Galleria: Completed in 1985, The CambridgeSide Galleria was one of the first urban, enclosed shopping centers in the United States and remains one of the most successful. It has been hailed by design critics for its innovative features. Part of a pioneering mixed-use waterfront development master planned by Arrowstreet, the 3-story, 782,000-square-foot shopping center opens to public parks at either end.

Pier 4 Masterplan: Starting in 2010, Arrowstreet kicked off the design of a major component of Boston’s new Seaport District at Pier 4, a 1 million-square-foot development that blends office space, hotel, housing, and retail. Approximately 250 residences, enhanced by the amenities of an interconnected 5-star hotel, provide around-the-clock activity on the site. A pedestrian arcade lined with active retail links Seaport Boulevard with a dramatic waterfront park at the end of the pier.

Revere Beach Waterfront: Almost a century after opening, in 2006, Arrowstreet was hired to develop a master plan to revitalize the Revere Beach community which included the design of Waterfront Square; a transit-oriented, mixed-use development surrounding the Wonderland MBTA station. The work continued with state-of–the art mixed-use residential communities along the waterfront establishing Arrowstreet’s presence in the enlivened neighborhood.

Office Culture

Since our beginning, our culture holds community outreach along with the education of our staff in high regard. We also put a large emphasis on team building and recreational activities. A happy team is a successful team. We at Arrowstreet, continuously evolve, but the appreciation of our people remains the same.

Giving Back: Our firm engages in community events such the Jimmy Fund Walk and volunteering at various soup kitchens. We participate in annual Canstruction competitions where unopened cans of food are used as building materials to construct larger-than-life sculptures for temporary display and are then donated to local food banks. Arrowstreet has also made it a tradition to make sure holiday wish lists of the Children who are involved in the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families are fulfilled.

Collaboration: Two minds are always better than one. Collaboration and idea sharing are values that our firm strongly upholds. Our office is set up with spaces that support impromptu meetings where interdisciplinary interactions can occur leading to new and creative ideas. Internal initiatives such as CoLab are utilized for information and project milestone sharing among staff. These meetings and events can be held in-office, but are supported digitally with the new movement towards remote work. With the firm’s undivided support, collaboration can happen at any time or place when inspiration strikes.

Education: Education allows Arrowstreet staff to continuously grow and generate creative solutions for the ever-changing challenges that today’s world presents. We believe that experiences are an impactful way to learn. Our people have coordinated walking site tours to local projects, and presentations with guest speakers – both promoting opportunities to step away from one’s desk or work and interact with new learning environments.

Team Bonding: In addition to accessible field trips and interactive moments of information sharing, Arrowstreet believes in coordinating fun and engaging activities to promote strong relationships amongst our staff. These experiences create bonds that promote healthy and more efficient workflows… maybe even with a side of laughter.

People

People are the driving force at Arrowstreet. Our ever-evolving leadership, which has always been promoted from within, has worked with our staff to build a favorable workplace environment. Because of this, Arrowstreet has a much longer than average tenure. We’ve kept our practice diversified to keep pace with the changing market and to keep our people engaged and excited about the work that we do. We connect, build memories, and enjoy life with our staff as well as the community at large. This focus on people extends to all our projects: creating great spaces that bring communities and people together.