Behind The Scenes
Creating Equity and Opportunity Through Intention
At Studio Luz, we center our work on cultivating community and working towards more equity, sustainability and inclusivity in the built environment. A core part of our work as an architectural practice is building places for all members of the community to thrive. We are particularly proud of our affordable housing projects. As designers, we believe that emphasizing the creation and development of new affordable housing is critical for building equity and inclusion in our community.
A few of our upcoming affordable housing projects include several in Dorchester at 270 Talbot Avenue, New England Avenue, Spencer Street and Blue Hill Avenue. The 270 Talbot Avenue project, for example, which is expected to begin construction in early 2023, will include 21 apartments for rent and 18 condominiums for sale – and both unit types will have commercial retail units on the first floor.
Building equity extends beyond the individual projects that firms take up, but also in supporting local businesses and designers. Project Manager Sophie Nahrmann says “we prioritize construction methods of design and project delivery that are suitable and within the scope of work that can be done by smaller, locally minority-owned construction firms so that they can build their experience as well and become much larger players within the Boston construction industry. They can really build experience and create wealth not just through the homeownership units themselves, but also through raising the boats for as many people within the community as possible.”
Senior Project Designer and Manager Leena Ismail says, “I’ve been in the field for 18 years. This is the first office I’ve worked in that really centers those issues within the projects that we work with rather than establishing a new sub-committee that centers issues that impact people of color in an office and in society at large.”
Ultimately, at Studio Luz we believe that architecture, at its best, can be a way of creating equity. Ismail ponders, “But in reality, why do we need to create these groups and clubs to think about these things, when we can actually do it within the projects that we work in? And I really do think that Studio Luz does a good job of doing those things both with just the people that you work with, both in the office and the consultants, but also the project types and the locations of them.”