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BAC Gateway Initiative Partner selected as Focus of 2013 ASLA/ACE Mentor Legacy Project

Patrick J. Kennedy School in East Boston

Proposed Axon Material for PJ Kennedy Schoolyard

Proposed Axon Material for PJ Kennedy Schoolyard

©Boston Architectural College; Photo by BAC Gateway Team

The Boston Architectural College is pleased to celebrate our Gateway Initiative partner, the Patrick J. Kennedy School in East Boston, as the focus of this year's ASLA/ACE Mentor Legacy Project. In conjunction with the Community Design Research Center (CDRC), the BAC began collaborating with the PJ Kennedy School in 2012 to create a new vision for the asphalt schoolyard. The project earned the attention of the Boston chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA), and was subsequently selected as the focus for the Legacy Project for the 2013 ASLA annual meeting in Boston. As the selected project, the PJ Kennedy schoolyard will be designed and built by the BSLA and associated volunteers.

The CDRC and BAC collaborate through the College's Gateway Initiative, a program which provides pro bono design services to nonprofits and municipal agencies throughout the greater Boston area. In Fall of 2012, the BAC and CDRC Gateway Project team began their work to create a design for the PJ Kennedy schoolyard that would reflect and support the wonderful internal activity of the School. The team met with students, parents, and administrators as they analyzed existing conditions and proposed a variety of design ideas for the overall schoolyard area.

As this work was instrumental in defining the vision for the project, the BAC and CDRC continue to work with PJ Kennedy School as the ASLA/ACE Mentor Legacy Project is executed by the BSLA. In May, the BAC and CDRC joined PJ Kennedy in reviewing preliminary sketches presented by members of the BSLA ACE Design Subcommittee.

The preliminary plan, informed by the work of the BAC Gateway Project team, is intended to generate design ideas and guide preparations for material donations. Working with School Administration, Boston Public Facilities Department, and interested community groups, the BSLA will facilitate a design charrette with students in the ACE Mentor program to craft a new design for the schoolyard. BSLA volunteers will refine the design for summer 2014 construction and ASLA will solicit product donations from its generous EXPO exhibitors. The newly improved schoolyard will be ready for students returning in September 2014.

The ASLA/ACE Mentor Legacy Project was introduced by the ASLA in 2008 as a gift to the host city of the annual meeting and EXPO. Each year, the host chapter teams up with the local affiliate of the ACE Mentor Legacy Program to design a project to be installed after the meeting. Many EXPO exhibitors donate products and plants for the project, allowing ASLA to give back to the city that hosts the meeting.

Since 2008, the Gateway program has served nearly 1200 students and nearly 100 different local non-profits and neighborhood groups; it is a true learning laboratory, where students are actively engaged in applied, project-based learning, interacting with and serving community clients, and participating comprehensively in a wide variety of projects. Students who have participated in Gateway projects have consistently cited it as one of the most important, and powerful, aspects of their education at the BAC. To learn more about teaching, learning, or partnering, contact Marilyn Moedinger, BAC Director of the Gateway Initiative, at marilyn.moedinger@the-bac.edu.