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Korean Church Of Boston – Children’s Chapel And Education Center by Brian Healy
January 20th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
Brian Healy Architect’s proposal for the Korean Church of Boston is based on the decision to reuse and extend the life cycle of the existing church building as much as possible. This helps conserve resources and reduce waste and the environmental impact of both demolition and construction. The plan also reorganized the church’s existing spaces to minimize the proposed size of the needed addition. The new Children’s Chapel and Education Center has the possibility of obtaining Silver LEED rating under LEED v2.2 which had jurisdiction when the project started.
The facilities benefits from their close proximity to public transportation.The church has a commuting congregation and it was important that the design promote access to the church via the nearby systems including the Green Line of the MBTA. To encourage this, we did not increase the amount of available parking and we included bicycle racks to accommodate over 5% of the congregation. A shower and changing room was included in the renovated portion of the church to further promote alternative transportation habits.
The project’s landscaping is minimal and the plants selected are able to be maintained without any permanent irrigation systems. Bamboo was planted in the courtyard to provide both privacy and visual tranquility for the spaces adjacent to the courtyard. The new landscape planters off Harvard and Holden Streets are planted with native grasses that will require very low maintenance.
The energy performance of the building skin was an important factor for maintaining thermal equilibrium across the seasons in New England. In order to control condensation and maximize thermal performance for both heating and cooling, the architects chose a cementitious panel and ipe rain-screen with continuous exterior rigid insulation. All glazing is double-pane insulated glass with low-e coating and has interior shading devices to control thermal heat gain and radiant heat loss through the windows. The heating and cooling systems are forced air and zoned to allow for individual use and minimize wasteful conditioning of unoccupied spaces.
The architects’ charge was further animated by the unique qualities of the site and the particular circumstances of this small urban campus that lies between the commercial and governmental areas of Brookline Village. The existing church – constructed in the mid-fifties – is an brick building which turns is back on Harvard Street, the main commercial artery of the area lined with two and three story buildings. The main church and its entry look across Holden Street toward a town green with City Hall, a Library, and Police Station. There is 8,341 square feet of new construction and 2,133 square feet of renovated construction.
The master plan for the sequencing of the renovations and additions address both the campus and its future planning. The Chapel and Education Center was placed parallel to the existing church adjacent to residential buildings that facing the civic institutions of Brookline. The siting also produced a private interior court. Extensive built-in seating throughout the project allows for informal conversations and interaction outside of the classrooms and the chapel.
In order to negotiate the nine-foot height change between Harvard and Holden Streets, the original land was built up as a flat plinth that required a foreboding retaining wall and steep steps along Harvard Street. This plinth was excavated down to grade to create a new park for both the congregation and the public. This park will be part of a new Community Center that is located on Harvard Street and marked by a prominent head house and storefront. This center will re-establish the street’s edge and provide for a connection to the surrounding community and its active pedestrian traffic.
As part of the design process, the architects worked closely with the church to include basic green building management practices into the proposed building. Classrooms were equipped with occupancy sensors to save on energy and new operable large windows were added to existing classrooms to increase day-lighting and ventilation. The main congregation areas are now controlled by a central lighting control panel that is programmable to customize lighting loads per user. A new building management plan address specific spaces and strategies for trash and recycling. Given the immense amount of trash, it was important to help the congregation implement a clear trash and recycling program with proper space to implement it efficiently. The design provides the church with a screened exterior enclosure to store and sort their trash and recyclables.
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