Corcoran Jennison Companies, Boston, MA
A revitalized mixed-income housing community inspires HUD’s Hope VI program
This successful, mixed-income community for 1,283 families was developed on the 50-acre site of Columbia Point, once New England’s largest public housing project. It combines new townhouses and mid-rises with renovated three- and seven-story buildings, organized in a new street pattern designed to take advantage of the waterfront site. The project influenced national housing policy, helping inspire the federal government's HOPE VI program.
Only one-quarter of the buildings in the existing project were habitable at the start of construction, and all were in need of revitalization and rehabilitation. After extensive studies of existing conditions (apartment types, building uses, utilities, and circulation), we developed a plan to remove two-thirds of the buildings, renovate and expand others, and build new structures to reinforce an urban street pattern. The completed project consists of an integrated development of market-rate and subsidized apartments, with a variety of building and unit types.
Key to the revitalization was our new site plan, which takes advantage of the spectacular waterfront site by opening views of the harbor and providing recreational activities and parks. These amenities attract a variety of age and income groups, as does the diversity of apartment types; small units in mid-rise buildings for elderly and childless households, and townhouses with private yards and patios for large families.
- A new, rotated street grid replaces the “towers-in-the park” layout of the original housing project, creating vistas to the water, the Boston skyline, and a new linear waterfront park.
- A four-block-long formal mall, lined with trees and mid-rise apartments, was scaled closely to the proportions of Boston's historic Commonwealth Avenue.
- Simple architectural details such as dormers, bay windows, pitched roofs, and balconies evoke traditional New England housing types, visually connecting the project to Boston.
- Development includes elderly housing, health clinic, recreational amenities, and convenience retail.