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Community Impact

Oct 20, 2017

Build Mass Ave


Photos courtesy of Polly Carpenter FAIA

How do you reimagine an iconic street?

On Monday, October 9, the children and families participating in The Fenway Alliance's annual Opening Our Doors festival were asked that exact question. Held in the Publishing House lobby of the Mary Baker Eddy Library, this design/build hands-on activity had families creating new structures to complete this storied street. From Lexington to Boston, Mass Ave. (the familiar nickname for Massachusetts Avenue) carries the history of the region. Participants were prompted to consider: How might this street look in the future? If you ask a six-year-old, it would have an art museum modelled after Antoni Gaudis' Sagrada Familia. If you ask a team of 10-year-olds, it would have a City Hall annex so that citizens wouldn't have to travel downtown to talk to the mayor and if you ask a 13-year-old, it would have a high-rise hotel with spherical windows for guests to look out and see the city. With children and teens' creative thinking, the possibilities for Mass Ave multiplied throughout the day.

Seven BSA Foundation volunteers guided families through the processes of permitting, design, and construction, and finally awarded Certificates of Occupancy to completed buildings. As with many BSA Foundation programs, Build Mass Ave. allowed children and families that are interested to engage in design thinking by asking them to create solutions to the challenges Boston residents and other urban dwellers face.

This program was in partnership with the Mary Baker Eddy Library and was held during Fenway Opening Our Doors, the city's largest free day of arts, cultural, and educational events hosted by The Fenway Alliance.

View images below from this event.