Multifamily / Grand
To hear Office dA's Nader Tehrani tell it, it's a small miracle that the Macallen condo building in Boston's South End became a reality. "It was built under the most difficult circumstances," says Tehrani, whose firm acted as design architect on the project. "Everyone was against the building," and consequently, it needed approval from the mayor's office down to neighborhood groups—and many others in between.
Office dA and firm of record Burt Hill assuaged fears with a building that's sensitive to its site and its context. With a highway and Boston's skyline to the west, the 144-unit building soars to its maximum allowable height limit, but it gradually descends in scale to meet the quiet residential street on the east side. Bronze and aluminum panels on the north side reference the neighborhood's industrial heritage, while house-friendly brick fronts the east elevation.
Seeking LEED Gold certification, the design team included strong sustainable components, such as a sloped green roof, recycled-content insulation, low-VOC products, and rapidly renewable materials. In addition to a variety of unit types, including live/work options, the building has underground parking for 274 cars, a hybrid community car, ground-floor retail, and other amenities that support urban living.
The judges overwhelmingly approved, with one calling the project "an unbelievable achievement for this building type."