Powderhouse Studios

Location: Somerville, MA
Size: 18,800 SF

Powderhouse Studios failed before being given a chance. Powderhouse Studios was envisioned to be a new future for high school students learning. This innovative idea from Alec Resnick and Shaunalynn Duffy would have transformed the Somerville, MA, residents.

studioMLA Architects designed the building in Alec and Shaunalynn’s vision. Teaching 160 high schoolers, the students would take on ambitious, self-directed, interdisciplinary projects focused on computation, narrative, and design. The team gathered the best school inspiration from around the country. Its key features were more common in private or charter schools. In addition to the studioMLA-designed school, the development would have provided 28 market-rate units, 8 artist live-work units, 12 senior housing units, a flexible community hub with an outdoor amphitheater, commercial space, and a public park. Teachers, students, parents, and involved community members spoke up in support of Powderhouse Studios. The support did not help with the committee voting. Every school committee member voted no.