Eliot School chooses renovation team

The Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts has selected designLAB architects to plan the renovation and expansion of the school, according to a press release.

The 341-year-old Boston-based art center occupies the original brick schoolhouse on Eliot Street built in 1831. The building was embellished in 1892 with a Victorian foyer and cupola, and the building now accommodates programs that serve more than 3,500 people each year, including external partnerships with Boston’s public schools and community centers.

designLAB architects were chosen by a panel of school trustees from a pool of nearly 30 interested firms. The firm was chosen based on criteria of experience creating spaces for making and learning, additions to historic structures, innovation, thoughtful landscape design, environmental sustainability, and an inclusive visioning process.

The firm will develop several proposals for the Eliot Street site, as well as potential alternative locations, which will include cost estimates and plans for phasing construction to accommodate ongoing programming.

Architect Ed Forte, the panel’s co-chair, praised designLAB’s “high level of sensitivity and curiosity about the Eliot School, and their approach to both working with a complex program and working collaboratively with our stakeholders.”

“designLAB will focus on letting the design process take us to places we might not have anticipated,” said the panel’s other co-chair Melony Swasey, a residential broker with Unlimited Sotheby’s International Real Estate, according to the press release. “They propose a strong community-oriented approach, and their landscape designer offers to work on seamless connections between indoors and outdoors, and between school and community use.”

According to the press release, designLAB Partners Kelly Haigh and Sam Batchelor said, “We are deeply committed to the Eliot’s mission of providing hands-on engagement in the arts.”

Neighbors are invited to attend an Open House to kick off the design process and provide input and ideas on Jan. 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Farnsworth House, 90 South St., Jamaica Plain.

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