The Community Design Resource Center of Boston is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit.  With a staff of one and a design community of several thousand, we provide pro bono technical assistance to community groups, nonprofits, and municipalities in projects that involve and benefit underserved communities throughout metropolitan Boston, AND we support, promote, and celebrate Boston-area architects and designers doing public interest work.

To see what we’re up to (and what we’ve done), visit our current work and our project galleries.

Please join us!

If you have ideas for a project or would like to get involved, please email gschneider@architects.org or fill out the form here.

The CDRC is supported by the Boston Society of Architects, grants, and the generosity of many individuals, firms, and design schools.



Start your ovens…2016 Gingerbread is here.

Now in its fifth year, the 2016 CDRC Gingerbread Design Competition, Exhibition, + Auction is a fun and tasty way to highlight the extraordinary talents of some of Boston’s top architects, to challenge the designers to explore a new medium, and to raise funds for CDRC programs.

Architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and urban planning firms, individuals, and students are invited to bake their interpretations of the 2016 theme:  “Boston, You’re My Home.”

Many cooks welcome.  Please join us!

Essential 2016 Dates:

November 4—Open call for participants issued
December 1—Registration deadline
December 7—Gingerbread creations dropped off at BSA Space by firms
December 12—Gingerbread exhibition opens at BSA Space; auction open
December 17—Family Design Day: Gingerbread
December 19—Reception
January 2—Exhibition closes at BSA Space; firms pick up their creations


The “rules.”

  1.  All components must be edible.
  2. Battery-powered LED lighting counts as edible.
  3. The gingerbread house must arrive on a 18″x18″ base (tin foil-covered plywood preferred) — (This is the size of the gallery display stands).

That’s it!

Heights are limited only by your imagination, and the material limits of the medium.

Creative interpretations of the theme are enthusiastically encouraged.

Come visit…Not yet, but SOON.

Starting December 12, all houses will be on view at BSA Space, 290 Congress Street, Boston.

The galleries at BSA Space are free and open to the public daily.

Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm

Saturday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm

These sweet houses work hard…

For one mighty week, from December 12-19, this event will also serve as a fundraising AUCTION.  It works like a people’s choice:  the house that gathers the greatest grand total of donations ‘wins’ the competition and gets to take home the coveted Golden Spatula. The house that gathers the greatest number of bids — of any amount — is declared victorious.

ALL BIDS COUNT!  All bids directly benefit 2017 CDRC programs, and are tax-deductible.  Bids of any amount (in $5 increments) are welcome.  In advance — Thank you.


THANK YOU to the designers, firms and groups who are already baking.  We can’t wait to see what they cook up!

There’s always more room in the kitchen…  Please join us!

For more info, CONTACT grabinkin@architects.org OR 617 391 4024


For a glimpse of what entrants cooked up in prior years:

Click to see more from 2015, including the winning entry by Finegold Alexander & Associates.

Click to see the winning 2014 entry by Finegold Alexander & Associates.

Click to see a gallery of all 2014 entries.

Click to see the winning 2013 entry — also by Finegold Alexander & Associates…(do you see a theme?).

(Will they do it again in 2016, or is time for a new team to take home the Golden Spatula???  We need you!)

Please join us tonight!


Please join us TONIGHT to check out the final work of this semester’s Boston Architectural College Community Practice teams.   (Informally) titled “Casual Encounters- Conversations with the City,”  the exhibit will present the work of 11 student teams in their development of design strategies for creative community engagement.

Thursday, May 5 2016, 5-7pm

The Boston Architectural College (BAC), Cascieri Hall, 321 Newbury Street, Boston

free & open to the public

This work was supported by a BSA Foundation grant that was awarded to the Boston Architectural College Practice Department and the CDRC to engage Boston area youth in the Imagine Boston 2030 planning process.


What can I do to make my home more resilient?

We hear this question a lot these days. As Boston area residents learn more about projected sea level rise and related extreme temperatures, a natural next step is to turn to that domain we can (mostly) control:  our homes. Homes — apartments, condos, triple deckers, and the like — are the essential building blocks of our neighborhoods. And most were built decades, if not centuries, before we had inklings of climate change. What’s a forward-looking resident (renter or owner) to do?

BAC Huxtables Resiliency Workshop_Page_01

Our beloved BAC “Huxtable Fellow” students have been on the ground in East Boston the past four months, analyzing predictions and compiling research, listening carefully to residents and their real situations, and looking closely at the real buildings where we live.  In deep collaboration with the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) and ULI’s “TAP” process, the Huxtables created a menu of actions that regular citizens might take to make their homes more resilient, and shared these ideas during a June neighborhood meeting.

See a pdf of their presentation here:  BAC Huxtables Resiliency Workshop



Boston Shines

Join us on Saturday, May 2, 11am-2pm at 44 Woolson Street as we work with garden neighbors and friends to clean up the community garden and get it ready for planting, and help clean up the neighborhood, too.  It’s part of Boston Shines — an annual, city-wide clean up event.  What a great way to welcome Spring as well as the new garden!  We’ll start at the garden and then work our way up and down the street.

This will be the first full season for this new community garden, all the more promising given the piles of snow that were here not long ago….

The Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition and the Woolson Street community gardeners will be on hand for those who want to learn more about this new community garden as well as other  efforts in the area.

Last year, the garden grew from this:

(photo from last year’s Boston Shines event, early May; the garden is still a vacant lot)

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To this:

(standing room only at the garden’s September grand opening.)

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2014-09-06 10.45.04-2

2014-09-06 10.40.49

2014-09-06 11.05.38

IMAGINE what this season might bring.

Come grow with us!

Building Resilience in East Boston

Growing from work begun at the 2014 ABX Living with Water design charrette, the CDRC is leading a group of six “Huxtable Fellows” from the Boston Architectural College in collaboration with NOAH (the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, an East Boston-based CDC) and ULI Boston (the Urban Land Institute) in community supported resiliency planning in East Boston.  NOAH and ULI are working together this year on a Kresge Foundation-funded initiative to help this neighborhood prepare for climate change and sea level rise, especially recognizing shared, community-scale infrastructure and long term vision.  The CDRC/Huxtable work joins this effort at the immediate, grassroots scale.  With a particular focus on one- to four-unit wood frame and masonry structures, the undergraduate and graduate students are creating analytical maps to see which areas are most vulnerable to rising seas, and then going out in the field to survey buildings and talk with residents and small business owners.

The Huxtables are talking with renters and owners, builders and real estate agents, youth and the elderly to develop a personal as well as analytical understanding of neighborhood needs and priorities.  Ultimately, they will create a menu of actions that residents can take TODAY to make their homes and businesses more resilient in the face of sea level rise, extreme heat and cold: the extreme weather associated with climate change.

Please join us as the Huxtables share drafts in a community workshop: 

6pm, June 10, 2015 at the East Boston branch library.

This is funded in part by the BSA Foundation.

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Congratulations Finegold Alexander!


After a heated bidding battle, Finegold Alexander captured the coveted Golden Spatula for a second year in a row with their handsome gingerbread entry, “Two if by Sea” (the Old North Church).  Connor Architecture and their stunning State House gave them a run for their money until the final moments.

Congratulations Finegold Alexander!

Thank you Connor Architecture!

And an enormous THANK YOU to all of our bidders and bakers — you have made this year a tremendous success.  The gingerbread auction raised over $7,000 — more than double last year’s event, and, most importantly, this allows us to look at expanding our work in 2015.

Thank you.
The houses will stay on view at BSA Space (290 Congress Street, Boston) through the holidays.  Open daily 10am-6pm (closed on Christmas Day), free and open to the public.

Happy Holidays!


The Gingerbread auction is live!

Bid early, bid often….  Bid here.

This sweet fundraiser supports serious work.

This works like a people’s choice.  All bids count; the house that garners the highest total amount of donations will be declared the winner.

Donations of any size welcome.  All donations are 100% tax-deductible and directly support CDRC programs.  The CDRC is a 501c3 nonprofit.

The donor who makes the highest individual donation on each house gets to choose the post-show fate of that house.  (These houses have ended up in living rooms, at office and union holiday parties, and donated to schools or shelters or other neighborhood organizations — it varies.  When the time comes, we’ll help with that.)

The auction website has slideshows of each of these amazing, incredible “houses.”  Here’s a sneak peak:


The houses are all on view at BSA Space, in the sidewalk-level gallery at 290 Congress Street.  Free and open to the public daily:  M-F 10am-6pm, S/S 10am-5pm.

The auction and gallery show are open through Monday, December 22 at 8pm.  Please join us at a closing reception December 22, 6-8pm where we will announce the winner.

Thank you to the architects and designers!  You’ve cooked up a whole lot of deliciousness.

Our houses and their bakers include (in alphabetical order):

“Holiday Cheer State House” by Connor Architecture

“Bye Buddy, hope you find your dad.” by designLAB architects

 “The Hobbit House” by Dore and Whittier

 “Two if By Sea” by Finegold Alexander Associates

 “Welcome to East Boston” by Jones Payne Group

“Winter at the Old State House” by Levi + Wong Design Associates

“Lexington Solar House” by Paul Lukez Architecture

“Greenway Carousel, Fit for All” by Royal Icing Headache (Molly Flueckiger, Disability Advocate + Katherine Blakeslee, Institute for Human Centered Design)

“Longfellow Bridge” by STV Incorporated

Thank you!

We know you’re hungry to start bidding…

BSA Space is full of tasty and beautiful ginger creations! From historic landmarks to infrastructure and solar dwellings, this is gingerbread as you’ve never seen before. We’ve been making our lists and checking them twice, getting the auction website ready. Coming very VERY soon….later tonight or tomorrow…

As we wait, watch one of our ginger architects hard at work:


Thank you TBHA, Sasaki, + Sea Change















A special thank you to our partners and sponsors:  The charrette was created in close collaboration with The Boston Harbor Association, in close concert with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the City of Boston, and the Boston Living with Water International Design Competition planning team, and was sponsored by Sasaki.  Not only did Sasaki provide tasty fuel for the feverish charrette activity, but also they shared their immensely valuable research from Sea Change and Designing with Water.  The Urban Land Institute, the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, and Eskew + Dumez + Ripple all shared copies of their recent resiliency reports, too.

Thank you.


A standing-room-only crowd envisioned Boston Living with Water at the ABX Design Charrette


Thank you to the 120+ architects, landscape architects, planners, engineers, scientists, students, public officials, and urban leaders who donated their afternoon on October 29 — the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy — to thinking about how three different Boston sites might be reconfigured to accommodate rising seas AND encourage vibrant, beautiful communities.


Twelve teams tackled three different sites, chosen because they represent a range of different conditions and design opportunities:  (from north to south)

Liberty Plaza, near Central Square, East Boston;

the public plaza at Long Wharf, Downtown Boston/North End;

Joe Moakely Park, South Boston.


The Living with Water design COMPETITION, launched the same day, asks entrants to focus on a similar spectrum of representative sites along the Boston Harbor.  The charrette and competition are designed to complement each other, and both encourage “Living with Water” ideas.  That is, not to wall off sea level rise, nor retreat, but instead imagine ways in which chronic flooding might be incorporated into an urban setting.


In 2015, the CDRC will develop neighborhood workshops based on ideas from the design charrette.  We will pilot this in East Boston, working with Chris Marchi and the youth of the Chelsea Creek Action Group at NOAH, supported by a grant from the BSA Foundation.