Program: 23 affordable apartment homes with social service space
Client: Urban Edge CDC
Size: 24,500 sf
80 Walnut is a proposal for affordable and sustainable family apartments. The design focuses on establishing a sense of community among the residents and revitalizing this under-served area. See below for further information on this innovative design solution.
Design Collaborators: John Tubles, Sarkis Sarkisyan
80 Walnut is a small but well situated site in Roxbury. It is in an area of predominantly 4-storey multi-family projects, and it is located directly adjacent to a well used neighborhood park. The entire site area is just under 11,000 sqare feet, but after accounting for required setbacks the buildable area on site is only 6,302 square feet.
In order to fit 23 units into such a small site it is necessary to provide unit modules which are smaller than traditional apartment spaces. In order to compensate for this, our design will engender a strong sense of community, providing ample space for interaction. The units will still be very attractive; they will receive ample natural ventilation and daylight as well as park views.
A typical development of this density on such a small site would max out the site constraints in an attempt to increase the unit count. This approach, however, would not allow for on-site parking. Additionally, there would be little opportunity for natural ventilation, limited access to daylight, and all community interaction would be relegated to a small common ground floor space.
By increasing the distance between 80 Walnut and the neighboring project and lifting the building half a story, we are able to accommodate tuck-under parking on the north end as well as increase the amount of daylight between the two properties. The building mass is also lifted, which aggrandizes the ground floor non-profit social enterprise space and...
...this not only provides for a better space, but allows for a more pronounced connection between the park space and our public space, allowing our project to directly engage with the broader neighborhood community.
To provide access to natural ventilation and sunlight to a majority of our units, we create community “streets” within the project that cut cross-laterally in the building. These generous, interconnected openings allow for a continuous natural airflow in the space and ample daylight penetration from every direction within the project.
These interconnected spaces become effective communal “front yards” for the residents in the project. By providing ample area for interaction, these openings allow for community encounters on all levels of the project and...
In order to save costs and ensure construction efficiency the majority of the project will be modular construction. The off-site construction of the building modules will ensure that the building construction will have a minimal impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Additionally, off-site construction in a controlled environment will allow for the assemblies to meet Passive House standards in a cost effective manner.
In response to community concerns, the project is designed to concentrate residential units and the non-profit social venture space on the park to increase visibility to the space. These increased “eyes on the street” will work to mitigate security concerns voiced by local residents as to the current conditions and use of this park.