MULTIFAMILY AND MIXED USE COMMUNITIES

COHOUSING COMMUNITY

This is the first co-housing community that was designed and built in the eastern Massachusetts. 


NewView is a 24-unit cluster development and a common house. Half the units are single family houses, the other half duplexes. There are also two units in the renovated 200 year old farmhouse.

The unique planning and design process for this co-housing development involved extensive collaboration with the client community. We provided full architectural services, from design work for the site development to respond to an environmentally sensitive site through construction administration of site and buildings.

  • To take best advantage of the particular site conditions, we clustered the houses in four neighborhoods that each adapts to the landscape, each with a neighborhood center, each with its unique identity.

  • An accessible pedestrian path links all houses in the four neighborhoods. The common house is located as a visual center.

  • The site plan has a clear separation of cars from pedestrian traffic. This responds to the different families preferences for being close to or away from cars. 

  • Fourteen acres of the 18-acre site were conserved as open space. We saved many trees and used native plants in the landscaping, many selected to enhance wild life.

  • NewView homes are “Energy-Crafted Homes” with high standards for air tightness, insulation, low toxicity, energy efficient heating, effective day-lighting, low-water use fixtures and appliances and some with solar domestic water heating and/or PV panels, one of the first project that got an ENERGY STAR RATING.

  • Other sustainable strategies are composting toilets.

  • We received approval from the Town of Acton Planning Board with their PCRC zoning process. We designed this project in partnership with P. Quinn.

MIXED USE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

This partially abandoned historic building was destined to be replaced by a parking lot. Instead we redesigned the building for 8 units of housing and commercial space and started a revitalization of the deterioration of this main street.

  • We used green strategies to redesign the building. Many of the existing materials were reused. It received a tight well insulated envelope and efficient appliances and fixtures.

  • The building received an Energy Star rating.

  • For good air quality good ventilation systems and only low VOC materials were used.

  • Our client, the Lynn Community Development Corporation was able to provide much needed affordable housing with two accessible apartments. They back up to the commercial spaces on the ground floor. The second and third floors are converted to family units with four townhouses and two flats, all accessed via a common porch. The common porch is intended as place for neighbors to meet and interact. 

This historic building was originally constructed with many beautiful details, but having stood empty for many years, it had gone into disrepair. With this conversion, this historic building was saved from demolition and its elegance preserved for the community. For this renovation the Lynn Historical Society gave us an award and the building was featured on the front page of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Publication.


This project was approved by the City Council and Board of Appeals.

 
 
ARTIST'S LOFTS COMMUNITY

Lynn Artists Lofts is designed for a cohousing community for 31 Artists.

This building was once a factory. It is centrally located in downtown Lynn.

  • AMA was asked by the Lynn Community Development Corporation to lead the participatory design for a group of artists who were committed to living together in a cohousing community with live/work artists’ lofts  including shared facilities such as a gallery, darkroom, kiln, welding room, a green roof with urban gardening, etc.

  • Initially the building was to house 20 units. As the number of qualified artist members grew, the client decided to add two stories to the building for 31 units. 

  • AMA produced the design and the construction documents, modified with value engineering to meet the budget and received a building permit.

  • Thanks to this project, the city council made a zoning change to allow residential uses to revitalize downtown Lynn. 

 
DOUBLE-TRIPLE DECKER INFILL

This 8-unit condominium development was designed to fit within a pre-approved building envelope with small side yard setbacks from neighboring buildings in a neighborhood of triple deckers.

  • Highly efficient space planning is manifested in the apartment’s floor plans. Each spacious, light filled apartment includes 2 bedrooms, a den, a kitchen, a living-dining room, two baths and a private deck, all within 1000 square feet of space.

 

  • Carefully designed transition spaces allow natural light to penetrate deep into each apartment from the front and rear of the building. 3D modeling was used extensively as a design tool to help the client understand how the spaces in the apartments flow and function.

  • The project was approved by the neighborhood and by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

 

Urban Design: This schematic design was commissioned by our client, on over half a city block while he assembled a number of lots.  We maximized the use of space for buildings while still providing a useable landscaped interior courtyard with 116 residential units and 20,000 SF commercial space.

  • A sculptural corner helps create a recognizable gateway to Boston’s South End. Beyond the corner along the streets our design calls for an edge that will unify the warehouse building pattern on the facades typical in the neighborhood along both adjacent streets.

  • Behind the strong cartesian facades along the streets, an oasis away from the noise and bustle of the streets is created in the interior courtyard where the buildings are transformed into organic forms becoming part of a lush green park. 

  • The interior massing of this development is stepped to allow light into both the courtyard units and also the neighboring apartments.

  • This development has received favorable community reaction.

  • The mix-use includes both live-work space and commercial space along the main street, to further benefit the area by stimulating pedestrian and commercial activity.

MIXED USE DESIGN FOR BOSTON CITY BLOCK
 

Despite its’ poor condition this house was saved from demolition.  The character of this 1850’s Greek Revival House had been degraded by numerous additions and renovations, such that the building had lost its historic substance. To regain a clear identity and style for the building, we reconfigured the space for four residential units, 3 two story townhouses and a penthouse, each unit with privacy as well as its own distinctive spatial qualities. Rather than trying to recreate a traditional style inside, the modern architecture inside reflects the open floor plans we had developed to optimize the spatial flow and light penetrating into the units.


Given the deep floor plan It was a challenge to introduce day light into the middle of the building. We used light scoops, skylights, and double-story spaces to bring daylight deep into the core of the building. To maximize spaciousness within the small floor areas, the stairways were designed to be light and sculptural to share areas between them to maximize the usefulness of each room. The layout has areas that are functionally and visually shared, thereby reducing the total floor area.

CAMBRIDGE CONDOMINIUM BUILDING DESIGN
 

We proposed this small apartment building for seniors with fully equipped apartments. To increase social interaction and to reduce the need for doing chores, an on-site manager will organize help as required. Residents share a living room, a dining room and kitchen for shared meals when desired.

 

This community is conceived for active seniors.

SENIOR COHOUSING
 

In this residential architecture development for 18 units of housing our design is a stepped built form. We manipulated the section to terraced green roof-tops to create an inviting space and allow sunlight to penetrate into the rooms in the middle of the site. The massing of this 18 unit housing development also relates to the surrounding buildings. The street façade of the L-shaped building has the form of a double triple decker, a building mass common on this street.  The three 2 story town houses in front reflect the lower 2 story buildings further up the street. The site’s below grade parking garage helps keep cars out of sight and also mitigates the congestion and parking pressure felt by the neighborhood.


Approvals from the neighborhood and the Boston Redevelopment Authority were granted with commendations by the Planning Board. We received approval from the neighborhood and the BRA with a standing ovation.

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH BOSTON
 
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© Copyright 2017 Amacher and Associates Architects. All Rights Reserved.

237 Mt. Auburn Street   Cambridge MA 02138   voice (617) 354-8707   fran@amacher-associates.net

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