Ruthie Kuhlman on 102 Temple Street in Worcester
BLDUP sat down with Ruthie Kuhlman, Associate at RODE Architects and the project manager for 102 Temple Street in Worcester, MA. Ruthie has worked across multiple scales and project types for over a decade, as both an architect and an engineer. She has a passion for problem solving through thoughtful contextual design.
BLDUP: What is happening at 102 Temple Street and who are you working with on the project?
Ruthie Kuhlman: “The project is located in the Canal District in Worcester; an urban, walkable, historic neighborhood with a lot of amenities and new development, including Polar Park. 102 Temple is a gateway site at the edge of the district, which we partnered with Zak Kiritsy at AKROS Development to reimagine. The project went through site plan review over the last year, with approval in the fall of 2022, and is currently progressing through design drawings.”
BLDUP: What made you want to join this project in Worcester? What is attractive about Worcester?
Ruthie Kuhlman: “We’re excited to be designing in Worcester because of the urban context; it has a great atmosphere with walkable, urban amenities and a lot of history. Through discussions with current residents, we learned that the combination of the urban environment, regional connectivity with the train station, and welcoming laid-back vibe make it a great place to live."
BLDUP: How does the design of 102 Temple Street respect the history of the Canal District?
Ruthie Kuhlman: “102 Temple St is a transitional site, on an edge condition adjacent to Grafton Street and I-290, which are very vehicular oriented, and connecting to Harding St, a main pedestrian thoroughfare. The site has potential to be a gateway building, using the scale and massing to define the edge of Canal District - referencing the adjacent Bradley Osgood Building; while creating a contemporary reflection of Worcester which builds on the design of its industrial past. The project uses gridded bays with framing and large windows to tie into the industrial language of the area, while using a clean contemporary facade and angling the exterior walls of the building at 5 degrees to create a pocket park on Temple Street for a pedestrian-centric public realm.” BLDUP: What is the Green Worcester Plan and how did you incorporate your all-electric design element?
Ruthie Kuhlman: “The Green Worcester Plan is a working plan to make Worcester one of the most sustainable and climate-resilient mid-sized cities in America by 2050. The goals of the Green Worcester Plan align well with AKROS’ development goals for 102 Temple St. The building is designed to be all electric and can utilize alternative energy through the integration of a PV array at the roof level. A stacker parking system - the first in the city - which provides the needed parking in the district within a minimal square footage, and will have up to 22 EV charging stations. There is also a bike room in the project and an, EV carshare for residents to use, creating different ways for alternate transportation supplementing the transit oriented location within one block of the train station.
The project is also pursuing mass timber construction, which would utilize cross laminated timber columns, beams and planks to create a sustainable building structure. This would incorporate carbon sequestering into the design of the project, as well as allow for the warmth of the wood structure to be exposed within the project design. Mass timber is an up-and-coming construction type here in the Northeast, and it’s exciting to incorporate it here in Worcester."
BLDUP: Can we expect more RODE projects in Central Massachusetts, Worcester specifically?
Ruthie Kuhlman: “We’re excited to be working in Worcester and look forward to being involved in more opportunities to help enhance the design of this growing city. RODE brings expertise through our approach to challenging urban sites; figuring out the right solutions to design impactful and contextual projects through collaboration with the client and the city. Worcester has a rich history and a vibrant urban atmosphere which creates great locations to design within."