The West End House Boys and Girls Club’s new pavilion and rejuvenation make visible the Club’s commitment to its neighborhood and community. Located in a residential neighborhood set in and bordered on three sides by a city park, the Club provides a critically important, safe and fun space for Boston’s youth. The Club, with wonderfully talented kids, dedicated mentors, and forward-thinking leaders, deserves inspired space to build the future. The new pavilion addition and reconfiguration add the much-needed space for an ever evolving and growing program and builds on a 2002 modernization of a 1970 concrete and block building. The new addition includes an adaptable performance space. It quickly converts from a dance studio to a traditional performance space with raked seating extending from behind a mirrored partition that opens out to a newly landscaped outdoor area. Aside the new performance space, a lobby acoustically isolates the performances and affords access to the new exterior spaces and park beyond. Below the lobby and nestled between bedrock and gym is an expanded fitness center. With the new addition, the park and Club are finally connected. The project makes the upper park accessible for the first time, creating an informal amphitheater and hilltop lawn either side of the performance space’s inviting porch and open glass wall. Materiality, detail, finish and light make for a lasting, uplifting and safe space. The glass clerestory crowned pavilion is clad in staggered course brick that continues through the lobby. The appearance changes subtly through the day or point-of-view with shadows cast on the curved masonry. The interior of the performance space has carefully detailed perforated wood paneling and exposed steel structure. The lobby is glazed floor to ceiling at its open ends with light reflected in the wet cured exposed concrete slab below the arrayed roof steel. Much of the existing building is renovated. The administrative suite, restrooms and locker rooms are moved and made more space efficient. A new after-school lounge and larger career center allow for expanded teen programs. A new music clubhouse includes expanded instructional space and recording facilities. A new and expanded art room takes advantage of large north facing glazing. The central stair is reconfigured to encourage informal gathering and performance along the path to the new creative spaces.
Leers Weinzapfel Associates is a practice recognized for its exceptional quality of design for the public realm in urban and campus contexts. The group’s special strength is a “mission impossible” ability to meet extraordinarily difficult building challenges with uncommon design clarity, elegance, and refinement. We are committed to providing meaningful spaces for human interaction and to promoting social well-being. Our work is diverse, including technically demanding infrastructure installations, advanced learning and living environments for educational institutions, to civic buildings and community recreation centers. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects honored us with the Firm Award, the highest distinction the AIA bestows on an architecture practice, the first and only woman-owned firm to be so honored. ARCHITECT Magazine has included the firm on its list of Top 50 architecture firms in the country, for the past five years in a row.