The architects who imagined a new housing development in the Allston neighborhood of Boston have done their part to respect the local surroundings. This project, designed by Boston-based firm Hacin and Associates (H+A), included the renovation of an old Victorian home and prioritized the preservation of two large trees originally planted in the 1950s.
Rather than allowing the Victorian-era home to fade into the background, the architects based the entire project around it. It is now the central hub for amenity spaces, and its interior reimagines classic Victorian design with whimsical elements to bring a modern touch to the property.
The complex even gained recognition by Speak for the Trees Boston, a local advocacy group that aims to improve the size and health of Boston’s urban forest. The organization focuses on under-served neighborhoods and urban areas with underdeveloped tree canopies, working with residents to measure tree densities and plant trees throughout Boston. The entire development, including the previously rundown Victorian house, is also pending LEED Gold certification.
Instead of removing the historic trees to make way for new development, the designers created a layout that would wrap around them. The trees remained safe and undamaged throughout the entire construction process. At just over 49,000 square feet, the complex at 83 Gardner Street houses 38 “moderately priced” workforce housing apartments designed with the community in mind.
The apartments embody modern elements while still drawing inspiration from the historic neighborhood. Clad in dark brown, wood-like material on one side and neutral tones on the other, the new buildings are rounded out with black-trimmed windows and several large, communal terraces. The property utilizes solar power and a redeveloped parking lot to lessen the impact of new construction.
Photography by Bruce T. Martin via Hacin and Associates