MAB Community Services

All Design Transparent

The client:

MAB is a nonprofit comprised of several initiatives:  Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired; MAB Adult Disability Services; and the Ivy Street School which helps teens and young adults deal with the challenges of autism, behavioral health diagnoses and brain injury to gain the skills they need to transition to adult life.

The challenge:

The overarching goal was to invest in the building for the future, exhibiting good stewardship with an appropriate bottom line for a well-managed nonprofit organization.

The space is located in a wonderful old mansion in Brookline, MA.  As with many large, rambling structures from an earlier era, the task at hand was to convert dusty space under the eaves to meet today’s standards; reflect the needs of an innovative organization; and retain the original details and charm. It was clearly time to update the windows, insulation and systems. Equally important was the goal of creating a fully functioning suite of collaborative workspaces to serve an increased number of staff.

The solutions:

The warren of small offices was demolished and the ceilings were raised to maximize floor space and increase head room. The conference space was placed at the top of the stairs and visually expanded with a glass wall and side clerestories.  A light fixture with the look of a skylight provides overall illumination and a sense of light and space.  To create abundant workspace, desk surfaces line the perimeter of each node.  The millwork desks and open overhead shelves are efficient and cost effective. The circle cutout reveals layered materials and exhibits a sense of fun.

The results:

The top floor is now light and open with views to the outside  and the sense of a much larger space.  The space is large enough to accommodate staff comfortably while retaining the cozy residential scale.  The palette is fresh and fashion–forward, and the furnishings are clean and contemporary.

The fusion of clean lines with interesting textures, prints and colors; effective lighting; and flexible furniture and workspaces position the offices for the future. The space is a worthy representation of an organization that is committed to holding on to its strong history of making a difference while becoming increasingly innovative in addressing the issues of the populations they serve so well.

With Amory Architects (prime)

Photographs by Greg Premru