“Boston is in a uniquely powerful position to make our city more affordable, equitable, connected, and resilient.” – Imagine Boston 2030, May 2017
April 9, 2018 –
Equitable Boston: Design, Development and Access to Opportunity
Using the Imagine Boston 2030 goals as a framework, panelists from the planning, design and development community addressed how the City’s vision for the future can be achieved using more inclusive and equitable practices to shape the built environment. Together with the City, we have the chance to impact economic opportunity for all residents, attract and retain a more diverse workforce, and create a stronger, more inclusive future for Boston. Presented by DREAM Collaborative and the Boston Society of Architects/AIA.
See a video of the event here at WGBH’s Forum Network. (coming soon)
- Kenneth Turner, Director of Diversity & Inclusion/Compliance at Massport
- Kathy MacNeil, Principal at MP Boston
- Gregory Minott AIA, Managing Principal at DREAM Collaborative and BSA Vice President for Practice
- Natalia Urtubey, Executive Director of Imagine Boston 2030
- Andrew Tarsy, Principal at Emblem Strategic
- Richard Taylor, Chairman of Taylor Smith Development
Jonathan Garland, Associate Principal at DREAM Collaborative, BosNOMA Co-Chair
DREAM job captain Brittany Carey Morgan is running the 2018 Boston Marathon and she’s raising money for a great charity, Girls on the Run (GOTR). Learn more about our team members here.
“During middle and high school I wasn’t always confident in myself and would constantly compare myself to other girls both physically and mentally. All those thoughts and feeling would change as soon as I put on my cleats, sneakers or skates. There is something so powerful that happens when you physically challenge your body. Today as I work in a field dominated by men, I am not afraid to speak up in a meeting just because I am a woman; I feel confident in my abilities and I credit that to the confidence sports and running gave me. All girls deserve to feel confident and powerful, that’s why I am running for GOTR!”
GIRLS ON THE RUN GREATER BOSTON
Founded in 1996 with 13 girls, Girls on the Run has served nearly one and a half million girls. The program is highly effective at driving transformative and lasting change in girls’ lives. Girls on the Run’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities.
Jamaica Plain –
DREAM Collaborative was commission by JPNDC to design 8 units of affordable homeownership housing spanning several parcels purchased from MassDOT. The design features an efficient, contemporary layout with select traditional exterior details that complement the existing neighborhood context. The design team is taking advantage of the woodframe construction style to study alternative construction methods such as prefabricated wall systems. JPNDC will also use this project to introduce a new model with two upper-floor ownership units each include a first floor investment rental unit.
Jamaica Plain, MA –
Centre Street Partners – comprised of The Community Builders, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, and Urban Edge – was selected for Phase I of the redevelopment of the Boston Housing Authority’s Mildred C. Hailey Apartments.
The development concept replaces the five existing residential buildings that are part of Phase I and the Anna Mae Cole Community Center with five new residential and mixed-use buildings. The proposal will create 625 new homes, including one-for-one replacement of the existing 232 deeply subsidized apartments plus 393 new construction market-rate apartments. Apartments will range from studios to five-bedroom units with parking for 375 vehicles located on a garage deck below three of the proposed residential buildings. There is also 14,800 sf of non-residential building space including a new centrally located Community Center.
To complement the diversity of architectural styles found in Jamaica Plain, the design concept introduces four, five, and six story buildings where the wings have different heights and materials, with some appearing like row houses, others like a series of masonry facades, and others with bays and corner elements. Of the five buildings, three will be designed by Stantec and two by DREAM Collaborative, alternating so no firm has two buildings side by side. The goal is to create a more natural result that corresponds to how neighborhoods grow over time.
Roxbury, Massachusetts –
The City of Boston solicited proposals for a pilot Housing Innovation Competition. The goal was to identify ways to address rising housing prices and create more middle-income and affordable senior housing by exploring creative design solutions that reduce development cost. Based on the effectiveness and lessons of this pilot initiative, the City hopes to create a replicable development model for other vacant City-owned land parcels. DREAM Development, the development arm of DREAM Collaborative, was selected to develop the DND-owned parcel at 24 Westminster Avenue. DREAM Collaborative is the architect for the project.
This is the first project DREAM has taken on as a developer. As architects, DREAM has been challenging conventional thinking about the built environment and empowering communities since 2008. We can now do that through development too.
DREAM’S concept creates compact, flexible, and sustainable module units that would be changeable enough to fit the full spectrum of in-fill sites available in Boston. The concept brings elegant, contemporary, and highly efficient units that can be marketed to middle income buyers. The 3-story building will contain 10 to12 condo units in a mix of 1 bedroom flats with 2 or 3 bedroom townhomes above. One unit will be an affordable unit; the rest will be market-rate. The units can be arranged to support multi-generational families. For example, at the 24 Westminister site, the 3-bedroom townhomes are located directly above 1-bedrooms and connected by a common hallway. The two units could be purchased together and deeded as one unit to accommodate extended family.
The development features a shared front yard with greenspace extending along the side and to the rear of the site. There are private decks for the 2 and 3-bedroom units. Seven on-site parking spaces will be sold separately and there will be a designated bicycle parking area, minimizing paved surfaces on the site and encouraging the use of nearby public transit.
The proposed residential building will strive to meet LEED Gold prerequisites and credits in the LEED for Homes Multifamily Lowrise rating system.
Electeds, neighbors turn out to celebrate venerable agency’s new digs
Yawu Miller | 9/20/2017
In 2013, the building occupied by the Grove Hall social service agency Freedom House was fast becoming uninhabitable. Energy costs were sky-high, there was water damage, costly repairs were needed and the layout of what served as a yeshiva in the mid-20th century was not conducive to the needs of a contemporary youth-oriented organization.
Two years and $2.5 million later, the new Freedom House recently held its formal ribbon-cutting ceremony, with elected officials, community members and the students and staff who are in Freedom House on a daily basis.
Mayor Martin Walsh said the new building will help ensure that Freedom House will continue to serve its mission.
“Freedom House is an invaluable resource for students and families in this neighborhood,” Walsh said. “The transformation of this city-owned property into a dynamic, state-of-the-art space for youth is cause for great celebration.”
Freedom House Executive Director Katrina Shaw, who has overseen the organization through the redevelopment process, said the new design allows the agency more flexibility in how it uses its space.
“We always want this space to be open to the community,” she said. “We can close one side for offices and open up the other side for meetings.”
The evolving mission of Freedom House guided the transformation of its physical setting. Architect Troy Depeiza, co-founder of DREAM Collaborative, said the renovations were designed to maintain the light and openness of the building’s original open configuration, while creating partitions that enable multiple activities.
“It still has a sense of openness so the occupants can still see light coming in,” he said.
The most noticeable building change is a floor-to-ceiling glass wall facing Warren Street.
“The whole idea is to open up that view, not just from the inside, but from the outside, so that folks coming by can see that this is a hub of activity in the community,” Depeiza said.
The window fronts one of three classrooms on the Warren Street side of the building that can be adjusted in size by two removable walls. The space also can serve as a large community meeting room.
New to the building is a kitchen, open offices for employees and walled-off offices for senior staff. The building’s white and silver palate, defined by the cement, steel and glass used extensively throughout the interior, is warmed by lighting and 9 feet tall wooden doors.
“We tried to maintain the original feeling of the place,” Depeiza said.
Shaw said the students who have been attending after-school programming since May have responded favorably to the new build-out.
“They love it,” she commented. “They like the openness, the fact that you can see around the building, the transparency.”
While Freedom House began in 1949 as an all-purpose social service agency working on civil rights issues and neighborhood improvement, it has in recent decades focused more narrowly on youth development, with tutoring and college preparatory programming. It administers college preparatory programs at the Jeremiah Burke and Snowden International high schools, Bunker Hill Community College, UMass Boston, Roxbury Community College and the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology.
Roxbury, Massachusetts –
DREAM Collaborative provided complete design and construction administration services for the fit-out of Whittier Street Health Center @ Quincy Commons, a 2,700 sf DPH-certified retail health facility on the first floor of an existing building located at 276 Blue Hill Avenue. The program for this satellite neighborhood clinic includes urgent care, primary care, mental health, WIC and dental departments, as well as a Code Blue office, laboratory services, storage, reception, triage, provider rooms, and restrooms. Whittier Street Health Center @ Quincy Commons is set to open to the public Spring 2016.
In addition to the new clinic, DREAM Collaborative has provided architectural service to Whittier Street Health Center for three other medical and wellness projects in Roxbury, including:
Whittier Wellness & Fitness Club – DREAM Collaborative provided complete design and construction administration services for the 7,000 sf interior fit-out of the Whittier Street Health Center’s unfinished basement. The space was converted into the new Whittier Wellness & Fitness Club which also includes exercise equipment, classrooms, offices, and lab space. Click here to learn more about this project and see the photos.
WSHC Urgent Care – Renovation of the urgent care facility on the first floor of WSHC’s headquarters. The projects included four new exam rooms, triage, and two provider offices.
WSHC Outreach Patient Services Renovation – Second floor renovation of open space to create four separate offices while providing better adjancy for WSHC’s Outreach and Patient Services with a new connection.
For DREAM Collaborative principal Gregory Minott, the connection to Roxbury is personal.
“As a transplant from another state (and from another country before that), Roxbury felt like the closest thing to my Jamaican roots, with neighborhood amenities such Tropical Foods, cultural events at Hibernian Hall, and an active Caribbean community. Roxbury is home to lively small businesses providing diverse ethnic products. Also, my first avenue in civic engagement was serving as the design chair for Dudley Square Main Streets,” said Minott.
In fact, it was a 2008 design competition for the redevelopment of Dudley Square that kicked off Greg’s professional attachment to Roxbury. Greg’s team won the Best Building Award in that competition and never looked back. Today, DREAM has many clients in Roxbury who draw us deeper into this richly diverse, historic urban neighborhood.
What are Roxbury’s key challenges?
Redevelopment has been slower to come to Roxbury than to other neighborhoods so close to downtown. Part of problem is transportation. Currently, the Orange line is the only train service that comes to Roxbury and it doesn’t serve the whole neighborhood. Crime remains an issue. Though statistics show that crime is on the decline, the perception of Roxbury as potentially unsafe place remains.
Disproportionately high levels of subsidized and public housing as well as increasing housing prices paired with stagnant income levels makes it very challenging for Roxbury residents to become homeowners. Developers struggle to build profitable residential projects that existing residents can afford. For developers who are not familiar with the neighborhood, the many active neighborhood groups can mean additional redevelopment challenges. Our experience has been that with the right team, we can leverage the wisdom of the community to benefit the project and the neighborhood as a whole.
What should the future look like for Roxbury?
- The future needs to start with protecting and enhancing what makes Roxbury great in the first place: the people who live and work there, history, cultural heritage, diversity, and the small business anchors of the local economy.
- The future must include major improvements in the public realm and infrastructure for existing residents including parks, roads, and high-speed public transportation.
- Roxbury will benefit greatly from locally-focused investment that provides quality housing including affordable and market-rate rental and increased homeownership, as well as economic opportunities for families and residents at all income levels.
Learn more about our work in Roxbury including 16 new residences at 2451 Washington Street, a mission-driven commercial building for Dorchester Bay EDC, a wellness and fitness club for Whittier Street Health Center, and the new Museum of the National Center for Afro-American Artists coming to the Tremont Crossing mixed-use development.
January 20, 2017 –
DREAM’s managing principal, Gregory Minott, was the subject of the Boston Business Journal’s Executive Profile in last weeks paper. Greg was specifically recognized for his leadership, humility, and world view on redevelopment in the City of Boston.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, architecture Caribbean School of Architecture, 1997; master’s degree, architecture and infrastructure planning, New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2002
Greatest professional challenge
‘I’m from Jamaica so people in Boston don’t always know what to make of me at first. Making inroads with new clients can be especially challenging, but our reputation is strong because there are benefits to being different: I bring a world view to the city’s redevelopment challenges and opportunities.’
Greg Minott has big dreams for his DREAM Collaborative LLC.
Ideally, he’d love to see his 10-employee Boston architecture firm become a Fortune 500 company one day. Realistically, he’ll settle for 50 employees within five years, as he expands his architecture business and possibly ventures into full-scale project developments.
“We see ourselves as more than architects,” said Minott, managing principal at DREAM. “We really see an opportunity here in Boston. We’d still provide services for clients, but maybe start partnering with clients too.”
If that comes to pass, it would be an American dream come true for DREAM and its two immigrant founders, Minott, a native of Jamaica, and Troy Depeiza, a native of Barbados. Both Minott and Depeiza are former architects at one of the city’s most prestigious and prosperous architecture firms, Elkus Manfredi.
Since striking out on their own by forming DREAM in 2008, Minott and Depeiza have established themselves as one of the top up-and-coming architecture firms in Boston.
Among its clients have been the Whittier Street Health Center, Boston Housing Authority, Preservation of Affordable Housing and, most recently, Millennium Partners and its lead architect, Handel Architects, on the envisioned new tower at 115 Winthrop Square, now the site of a closed city-owned garage.
DREAM has also maintained a close consulting relationship with Elkus Manfredi and other firms on projects such as the renovation of the art-deco Verizon building in Boston’s Post Office Square.
To Depeiza, Minott’s greatest strength is conveying to employees where he wants to take the firm — and he’s not thinking small.
“Greg has the ability to share a vision and make it accessible for the entire team to grasp, and the ability to conceive smart solutions under pressure,” said Depeiza. “Greg is a humble leader focused on self-improvement and helping others grow and realize their God-given potential.”
Growing up in Mandeville, north of Jamaica’s capital city of Kingston, Minott says he can trace his love for architecture both to his father, a chemical engineer, and his mother, who worked in residential and commercial real estate.
With his father, he once helped design and build the family’s home in Mandeville, driving around neighborhoods and looking at other homes for ideas they’d like to incorporate into their own house. “We’d say, ‘Hey, that place had an interesting archway and porches. What do you think of that?’ I really got to dream what would go into the house.”
With his mother, he’d often accompany her as she toured homes for possible sales and purchases, further instilling in him a love for design.
So it wasn’t a surprise that he was drawn to technical drawing, art and even physics, later attending the Caribbean School of Architecture, where his thesis was on how his “very scenic” middle-class hometown, Mandeville, and how over-development was threatening its charm.
When not working, Minott said he likes mountain biking, playing tennis, kayaking and just hanging out with his two sons, ages 7 and 4. He also loves traveling back to Jamaica to see family and friends.
November 17, 2016 –
DREAM Collaborative was recently featured in The Bay State Banner.
DREAMing Up Success
Written by Karen Morales
A 120,000 square foot, multi-use building with certified LEED features and various community amenities will open in Dorchester’s Four Corners neighborhood, if all goes as planned for DREAM Collaborative, a minority-owned architectural firm. The project, still in its design development phase, is one of many DREAM Collaborative’s urban development designs intended to revitalize neighborhoods.
While the term “revitalization” can carry loaded connotations, Gregory Minott and Troy Depeiza, co-founders of the firm, strive to bring something of value to surrounding communities with every project. Whether it’s their interior fit-out for the Whittier Street Health Center that contains a fitness facility and medical lab in Roxbury, or their very first client, a renovation of a church in Rhode Island, their work is mission-driven.
“We wanted to have a transformative impact on the neighborhoods we work in,” said Minott.
In 2008, Minott and Depeiza worked at Boston-based firm Elkus Manfredi Architects and entered a design competition together to re-imagine and redevelop Dudley Square.
The competition was hosted by the Boston Society of Architects as part of that year’s public programming for the American Institute of Architects national convention in Boston. The program invited architects to create a design strategy to fill in a newly vacant space in the Roxbury area.
Minott and Depeiza submitted a winning design, recognized by the City of Boston and the Boston Planning and Development Agency. “That really thrust us into the spotlight and gave us the confidence to move forward,” said Minott. “A lot of people knew our names in that neighborhood.”
Minott and Depeiza worked well together and decided to keep the momentum going by starting their own business. “Meeting Greg was complete like-mindedness, and it was the right time,” said Depeiza.
“Most people who come to this country are entrepreneurial-minded,” said Depeiza. “You need to start somewhere but you’re always looking to establish your own business.” Minott is originally from Jamaica and Depeiza from Barbados.
The duo started DREAM Collaborative from home, building a client list using connections from the competition.
“We began targeting nonprofits and private developers in that [Roxbury] area who knew we had credibility in the city,” said Minott.
Minott and Depeiza have eight employees, including interns. As a certified Minority and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise,”we’re very focused on hiring minorities and women and ensuring that they have prominent positions within the firm,” said Minott. “Not only are we innovative with our building designs, but the way we work too.”
The firm has worked with 19 clients so far, according to a list on their website. Their portfolio includes a wide range of clients and projects from Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation to Northeastern University, and “from a 13 unit building to a 300 unit building,” said Depeiza.
When designing a project, the firm engages with the needs and concerns of the surrounding neighborhood. “It’s our priority to go to community members to learn what their goals are for their community,” said Minott.
“And make sure that the development is good for not only new residents but the existing residents,” said Depeiza.
A dream project
The proposed 120,000 square foot building on 260 Washington St., in Dorchester is expected to impact the neighborhood in a number of ways. DREAM Collaborative describes the building as a, “low operating cost, energy-positive, and environmentally sustainable business incubator coworking and event space with a restaurant, cafe, ground floor food co-op and plans for an urban garden.” The performance space is expected to seat 300 – 500 people and will feature a flexible design to accommodate a wide range of events.
The project is designed for LEED Platinum with renewable energy features. Just as important as sustainable energy is resiliency planning, in light of predicted rise of sea levels in Boston.
“It will be a place in case of emergency, that will be a haven for the neighborhood,” said Minott.
Backup systems for water and electricity will be placed on top of building, as opposed to the basement, and storm water management will be included in the plans. The firm is working with Dorchester-based Sustainability Guild International to implement these innovative green strategies.
“It’s more than just a LEED project,” said Minott. “It’s really going to be a catalyst in that neighborhood for that to be the new normal.”
In terms of exterior design, “The whole image of the building is innovative,” said Minott. “There can sometimes be a stigma of what a building in a neighborhood should look like.”
“This is not that,” said Depeiza.
Other projects in the works for DREAM Collaborative is an affordable senior housing building with Hearth Inc., and the renovation of the Grove Hall Library into the new Freedom House headquarters, a college preparatory program.
Currently, the firm is located on Huntington Avenue, across from the Christian Science Plaza. Minott and Depeiza said they are looking for more staff to join their team, as they are growing and taking on more and bigger clients.
Check out the full article online here.
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