This summer, the Master of Architecture Program at Massachusetts College of Art and Design ran the first hands-on project in their Community Design Build program. At The Carter School, a school for severely disabled students located in Boston's South End, MassArt design students constructed a new interactive, environmentally-relevant shelter connecting the bus stop to the building.
The Carter School was in need of a design solution that would answer the need to be protected from the elements while getting kids onto and off of buses during the school day, a process that can be time-consuming given the severe disabilities of the students. Over the course of about four weeks, MassArt architectural design students came up with a structure that would not only shelter teachers and students from rain, snow and bright sun, but would be a stimulating environment—more than just a transition from one place to another.
The roof of the shelter contains brightly colored translucent panels that reflect on the ground below, set at an angle to direct storm water runoff into rain gardens and other water features.There are colorful seats along the walk from the school entrance to the bus loading area, and low landscaping maintained by the rain from the roof. This was a relatively low-budget project that used concrete and steel, with timber framing. The project was recently completed, just in time for the start of the new school year, and with a month or two of pleasant fall weather remaining to enjoy the structure and make any remaining tweaks before heavy New England winter sets in.