Merit Award, Live/Work project

ArtBlock 731, Boston

Merit Award, Live/Work project

  • ArtBlock 731, Boston

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    ArtBlock 731, Boston

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    ArtBlock 731, Boston

Artists’ housing, in its ideal form, isn’t like any old housing, and this feat of urban renewal on .83 acre gets that. Kick-started by Boston’s “Artist Space Initiative,” the project wraps two new live/work loft buildings around a historic, Victorian-style school that was converted into artist work space in the 1980s.

Now marked by a gallery entrance and sculpture garden at street level, the eclectic campus offers 54 units of market-rate and affordable housing. That includes raw lofts featuring high floor loads, oversized doors, supplemental ventilation, and extra-large elevators, which were sold to qualified artists for $179,000 to $199,000. Resale restrictions ensure that those units will remain affordable to artist households earning 80 percent of area median income.

Envelope repairs and safety upgrades brought the old school building up to code with the addition of elevators and ramp access. And the new construction is contextual. One elevation fronting a residential area features brick-clad row homes, while a façade overlooking a busier commercial street is articulated with funky zinc shingle “fish scales,” offering views inside the studio spaces via projecting angular bays.

MERIT
Category: Live/Work project
Entrant/Architect/Land planner/Interior designer: ICON architecture, Boston
Builder: CWC Builders, Newton, Mass.
Developer: New Atlantic Development Corp., Boston
Landscape architect: Geller DeVellis, Boston