What is Common Boston?

A program of the Boston Society of Architects / BSA Foundation, Common Boston’s mission is to connect designers to the public for more vibrant, sustainable and equitable communities. Launched over 10 years ago by a group of visionary young architects, designers, and engaged citizens, Common Boston is managed by a dedicated group of volunteers who have hosted over 250+ events for thousands of attendees in 35 communities around the region.

What is the Common Boston Festival?

The 2016 Common Boston festival of architecture and design is unique opportunity for the public to discover and explore dozens of sites throughout Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline. Based in part on “open house” weekends in cities like Chicago and New York, CB16 will offer unique access to dozens of architecturally and culturally significant spaces and places—many not open to the public, and all for free!

Check out our Calendar page for details on the full weekend programming. You can also download a PDF of our full program here.

When does CB16 take place?

Mark your calendar for Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5, 2016. To kick off the weekend, on Friday evening we'll host the dParty, our premier launch event. On Saturday and Sunday our Site Partners will open their doors to the public from 10 am to 6pm... Great adventures await!

Where does CB16 happen? 

CB16 is a city-wide festival with dozens of participating sites located throughout Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline during the event weekend.

How do I get between sites?

Depending on the neighborhood parking may be available, but we recommend that you take the bus, train or ride your bike! It’s up to you to plan what sites you want to visit and how you want to get there. Regardless of what mode of transit you choose, be sure to wear your walking shoes. 

How much does CB16 Cost?

The open house portion of the Common Boston Festival is FREE for everyone, including our Festival Partners and the public! How do we do it? We rely on generous support from our Festival Sponsors. The fun and lively dParty kickoff event is just $10, and helps support our important programming. We hope you can join us!

What qualifies as a Site? What kinds of spaces will be featured?

We are seeking a diverse range of site types, which could include sacred historic places, sky-high offices, repurposed mansions, hidden infrastructure, unique learning spaces, and more. In addition to open access, we encourage behind-the-scenes programming such as a building tour, access to an otherwise-private space, or even an art installation… the possibilities are limitless! 

How can I participate?

Beyond attending the festival to visit all the great sites, you can also join Common Boston as a Site Partner, Community Partner, Sponsor, and/or Volunteer:

  • Site Partners are hosts who highlight great spaces and share their important work. 
  • Festival Volunteers are ambassadors who give their time in support of festival activities.
  • Community Partners are connectors who provide neighborhood insights and amplify our message.
  • Festival Sponsors are supporters who offer financial and/or in-kind resources for the festival.

And yes, you can be any combination of the above Festival Partners too—the more, the merrier!

Why does this matter?

Because creating more equitable, sustainable, and vibrant communities throughout greater Boston is important to all of us. Through your support and participation in the Common Boston festival, together we can:

  • Help the public discover Boston's rich culture, architecture, and history.
  • Break down silos and encourages a greater spirit of collaboration among artists/designers, neighborhood groups, nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and the public at large.
  • Inspire people to share personal experiences, neighborhood resources, and business opportunities.
  • Enhance the profile of Boston as a diverse, vibrant community with a rich cultural tradition.
  • Facilitate economic growth, access and opportunity, especially in underserved areas.

We hope you can join us!

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us here. Many thanks!