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Community Build

Our Community Build program provides graduate students with hands-on learning as they create a functional structure for community use.

Established in 2009, the MassArt Community Build program promotes projects for public and nonprofit entities that solve practical problems and encourage human interaction in the built environment. Through education, advocacy, and research leading to design and construction, it provides opportunities for students and communities to work as partners on design-build projects.

A core goal of the MassArt Community Build program is to embed curricular work within the architectural profession, using the studio as a laboratory that results in built projects that are completed for an external client.


Community Build, a key studio course in the program, is a central required element of the M.Arch curriculum. During this summer studio, M.Arch students lead the design and construction of a project for a community partner. Over the course of the term, students bring architectural form from concept to reality, while meeting the goals of the client group and exploring the expressive potential of building materials and structural systems. Mentoring and supervision is provided by industry professionals, including architects and engineers. 

The program also includes interdisciplinary courses and projects that involve students and faculty from programs across the college in innovative art and design partnerships.


Community organizations interested in potential projects may contact:

Paul Hajian Professor, Architecture


Community Build: Call for Proposals

MassArt is currently requesting proposals from community organizations for future Community Build projects.

For Community Partners

Community Build is a program that connects a group of graduate Architecture students with a community organization to collaborate on the design and construction of a community project associated with the design of gardens or green space. The idea is to enhance the quality of an outdoor space and promote new human interaction and visibility. Since its creation in 2009, Community Build has created a greenhouse in Dorchester, an outdoor learning space in Roslindale, and a community gathering center in Somerville, among other things.  

The goal is to create an environment for hands-on learning for MassArt students, working under the supervision of MassArt faculty, while creating a functional structure for use by the community. Students gain experience with community engagement, as well as project budgeting, construction and management. Community partners learn about agency and advocacy in their built environment, and at the project’s end, they have a structure the organization and community can enjoy for years to come. Each project results in a permanent usable pavilion or outdoor placemaking element. All labor is donated.

Summer Studio Format

This studio is a requirement for a Masters in Architecture from MassArt. Students design, budget and safely construct the project, over the course of eleven weeks in a single summer, as specified in an MOU between the college and the community partner. Mentoring and supervision is provided by faculty and industry professionals, including architects and engineers, and other professionals as needed to support the project development.  

Call for Proposals

MassArt seeks to work with community organizations that have a small green space-related construction project in mind for a site controlled by the organization, and can provide a typical materials budget of $15,000-$50,000. For organizations that don’t have access to such a materials budget, MassArt is happy to collaborate on grant-seeking and other funding opportunities. Lack of access to these funds should not be an impediment to applying.  

The program is seeking qualified proposals for projects in Summer in future years.

Community Application Process

  • Projects are reviewed by the Architecture faculty to ascertain suitability, ease of development and design, and potential to be completed in the allotted time frame. Accepted projects can be completed in a single summer within a fixed material budget.  
  • A memorandum of understanding is generated between MassArt and the community organization.  
  • The program requirements are roughly outlined with the faculty member and partner prior to the commencement of the studio. During the studio, students, under the mentorship of the faculty member, directly develop the program details with the partner through a collaborative design process.  
  • Prior to the commencement of construction, all proposed designs and specifications are approved by the partner.  
  • Students and faculty have unfettered access to the project site for the duration of the project.

Please include the name and contact information of the person making the request.
Maximum number of pages: 2

  1. Short Organization Description
    Please tell us about your organization. What do you do, and whom do you serve?
    What programs do you offer?
  2. Short Project Description
    Describe the project proposal in a few sentences. Consider how our architectural design and construction  expertise can help solve a spatial problem, enhance an underused outdoor space, develop a new entry sequence or identify new places for playing, gathering, or collaborating. Briefly address how a community build project would help support your organization’s goals.

    Not sure? Let us know! We are happy to speak with you before you submit your proposal. Refer to our past projects to see what we have achieved and to help you think about yours.

  3. Budget
    Provide information on your proposed budget for the project.
    Note: Projects fall within a $15,000 to $50,000 material budget, depending upon the size of project taking into consideration the size of each class. The typical project historically has a material cost of $25,000.  

Submit electronic proposals to Patricia Seitz at Projects are reviewed on a rolling basis and one project is completed each summer. Fall submissions are preferred for the following year.

Patricia Seitz Chair, Architecture


Paul Hajian Professor, Architecture


Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Department of Architecture | 621 Huntington Ave • Tower 633a • Boston, MA 02115
p. (617) 879-7677 | c. (617) 593-9190 | e.

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621 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115

(617) 879-7000