Wentworth has long held a reputation for being a good neighbor in the City of Boston. This time, the university is assisting city staff to help revitalize a Roxbury property dating back to the 1870s.
The work at the Eliot Congregational Church grew out of Boston’s Community Preservation Act, which uses revenue from a 1 percent surcharge on property taxes to fund projects that further historic preservation, parks and open space, and affordable housing. While other area churches have been converted into condos in recent years, this project will allow Eliot to maintain its foothold in the community.
“The goal is for Wentworth to serve as a technical and design resource for nonprofit organizations submitting proposals for funding under the act,” says Chuck Hotchkiss, dean of the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction Management.
As a pilot project, Wentworth students in a graduate architecture studio this fall have been asked to work with the church to explore design elements for various use on the church property. This collaboration has since broadened to include students, faculty, and staff from several Wentworth programs.
Professor Michael Mozill and David Mareira, executive-in-residence in the Business Management program, for example, have worked with Sam Knollmeyer, BSM ’18, whose capstone project looked at possible uses for a commercial kitchen located in the church: as an incubator for food-based start-up businesses, as a food preparation site for food trucks, or as a vehicle for providing meals to the affordable housing residents.
“[The building] needs love and care. And that’s what Wentworth students are giving it,” Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in August. “They’re taking all the skills that Wentworth teaches and using them to
help the community expand its vision and take care of its own.”