The site at 273 Highland Street is conveniently located a couple of blocks away from public transportation by means of the Jackson Square T stop and the Southwest Corridor Park bike trail. The walk west alongside Marcella Playground tennis courts on Highland Street brings one down a gradual slope past single-family homes, several sited on tall stoops with a view down to a series of large multi-family walkup buildings, industrial warehouses and yard, and an expansive parking lot for a Boston Public Works facility across the street from the site. We believe our proposed building height of 45’ and massing will pair well with the elevated topography of the adjacent existing parcel and open foreground across the street. The community work and/or maker space is located on the ground floor slightly recessed from the sidewalk. The intent at this juncture is to create an inviting and visible communal space that will capture the curiosity of the passerby to engage with the interior space and be inspired to enter from the open passthrough at building’s edge.
The fourteen (14) maisonette units occupying the second, third, and fourth floors are an elegant solution for this ambitious and extremely efficient building. Only one central corridor is needed for the building and is provided on the third floor. The building section defines two sets of L-shaped two-story units (the maisonette) that puzzle together to create a tightly articulated, but yet packed, ‘box.’ Although the four different maisonette unit types have similar layouts, they are unique in their relationship to their private balconies allowing each unit type to tailor to various user preferences – one provides a balcony at the work space, another provides a personal balcony accessed through the bedroom, and the remainder provide balconies enjoyed through the living room. All studio units on the first floor will be Accessible with ground level access from the rear and stoop entrances at the front.
The building is designed to achieve Net Positive energy performance and it will also be built to LEED Platinum Certification. Our proposal offers a net energy-positive housing design achieving an overall HERS rating of –2 and USGBC’s LEED for Homes Platinum Certification with 85.5 points. In addition to the response to the urban context, the box-like form of the building, along with the photovoltaic panels on the roof and south facade, is a result of a multi-prong approach to maximizing solar gain, minimizing envelope heat loss, and providing comfortable and abundant daylight within its well-ventilated interior.