Project Viola is a new mixed-use development to be located on a platform above the Massachusetts Turnpike in southern Downtown Boston. The Handel Architects’ scheme, submitted with The Peebles Corporation, was selected as part of a design competition.
The design concept seeks to re-establish the traditional Back Bay street wall with an economical structural framing strategy induced by the highway and tunnel geometry below. The resultant undulating form has urban design benefits: the curved segments connect the two geometries into a single cohesive form; create additional open space at the sidewalk level at reopened Boylston Street T entrance opposite St. Cecilia Street; and visually segment the building into separate masses.
In addition, the historical facades along Newbury Street are complemented by the sculptural form and color of The Viola beyond. The building along Massachusetts Avenue has a generous linear plaza to promote ample transit “elbow room” and mark the gateway transition between The Fenway and Back Bay in this key location.
Project Viola will include 82 rental units, 82 condo units, a boutique hotel, retail, and an entrance to a new MBTA station.