Peace Institute gets okay for Westville Street headquarters

The architect Cyrus Dahmubed says the new building is meant to preserve “a healing garden.”

The Zoning Board of Appeal last week approved plans by Louis D. Brown Peace Institute for a three-story Center of Healing, Teaching, and Learning on what are now two city-owned vacant lots on Westville Street in Dorchester

Christina Chéry started the institute after her son, Louis D. Brown, was gunned down 31 years ago in the crossfire of a gang shootout in broad daylight on Geneva Avenue. Her goal is to provide help and healing for people affected by “murder, trauma, grief and loss” in Boston.

The new site is designed to lead visitors through a “pathway of decompression” from Westville Street into the 20,000-square-foot, three-story building, which will feature meeting and meditation and healing spaces, classrooms, offices, and an auditorium, according to its plans.

Cyrus Dahmubed, architectural consultant on the project, told the board the building was designed to fit onto the L-shaped lots so as to preserve mature trees toward the rear as “a healing garden.”

The building is designed to be a green structure and will include rooftop solar panels, along with high-performance windows and recycled construction materials to reduce its overall carbon emissions.

The project, which will take roughly 17 months to complete, will cost an estimated $13.4 million. At the hearing, the mayor’s office and City Councillor Brian Worrell supported the project. Nobody spoke against it.

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