Project
INSIDE OUT / OUTSIDE IN Option Studio

East Boston has been home to many of the city’s immigrant communities since the mid-1800’s. The Jeffries Point neighborhood in particular, is especially linked to these histories with institutions such as the Immigrant’s Home where newly arriving Irish mothers and children were provided shelter beginning in the early 1800’s, to the East Boston Immigration Center in the Marina which was used as a detention center for Japanese, German and Italian immigrants during WWII, to Logan Airport, which represents our contemporary mode of global migration.

Over the last decade however, immigrant communities in East Boston have been experiencing displacement due to gentrification catalyzed by waterfronts developments who see the neighborhood as a hotspot for commuters into downtown Boston. In response, this project proposes a housing cooperative and cooking school for immigrant communities in Jeffries Point on land leased from the city. For the new immigrant tenants, the cooking school and food related programs provide a space to celebrate their unique cultures and develop skills for employment opportunities in an otherwise unfamiliar and new environment.

The project draws the neighborhood through the building using a staircase that cuts through the massing to connect two parks. The cooking school is located in the ground level podium along with unprogrammed storefronts to enable future cooking students to open their own cafes and markets. Two floors of housing are located on top in the event of a storm surge that would inundate the podium floor. An esplanade overlooking the harbor from the residential units cultivates a new home for immigrant communities in Jeffries Point.

Units are structured using a logic of 2 units within every 3 bays, permits a flexibility of residence, matching the ebb and flow of new immigrants arriving to the neighborhood. Within the units, spaces are organized along of spectrum of isolated activities looking back to the hill-top neighborhood and shared activities overlooking the waterfront. In each unit, the cooking space is celebrated as the focal point of social activity.