24 Westminster Avenue

Innovative Multi-Gen Living


Size

10,492 sf

Location

Roxbury, MA

Project type

Residential

Client

DREAM Development

Cost

$3.9 million

Completion Date

2021

Project Overview

Affordable living options are in high demand, particularly in urban areas. In Boston, triple-deckers (or three-deckers) once provided an economical homeownership option with the building owner living in one unit while renting the other units to family members or other tenants. Many triple-deckers have been converted to individual condos, but a new homeownership option that embraces the traditional triple-decker family living model is on the rise.

The design centers around a two- or three-bedroom townhouse stacked above a smaller, ground-floor unit, with a shared exterior entrance and common hallway linking unit doors. Each unit can function independently, with private bathroom, kitchen, laundry, and outdoor areas, but the welcoming feeling of one large home can easily be created by opening the connecting doors.

The potential exists for a range of multigenerational living arrangements, whether supporting young adults just beginning their careers or housing aging parents. The smaller unit could also serve as an economic engine, contributing to the financial well-being of a family by functioning as a live/work space to house a small business or as a rental unit for additional income.

Unlike two- and three-family options favored by past generations, this new urban housing model offers a range of unit sizes and configurations to match a variety of households and phases of life and can be recreated on a larger scale with clusters of multigenerational multifamily buildings arranged to create walkable, family-friendly neighborhoods.

DREAM Collaborative, winner of a pilot Housing Innovation Competition as both designer and developer, is testing this unique multigenerational housing concept at 24 Westminster Avenue in Roxbury with the transformation of a long vacant, 10,000sf parcel into a moderate-density multifamily development. In 2017, the mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab, Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), Garrison Trotter Neighborhood Association (GTNA), and the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) solicited proposals to address rising housing prices and create more middle-income housing, and sought an efficient, compact module design that could be adapted to fit various in-fill sites around the city.

Key Features

  • Multigenerational concept
  • Affordable for sale housing
  • Cost effective modular design
  • Integrated sustainable design
  • Designed to meet LEED standards
  • Winner of Housing Innovation Competition

Equity + The Greater Good

Multigenerational living arrangements provide families with affordable home ownership and an appealing opportunity to maintain a strong connection between generations. Developing multifamily buildings to accommodate multiple generations provides flexible, economical housing choices to help cities like Boston overcome housing challenges.

Design Solution

DREAM Collaborative’s winning design features 12 units that can be purchased in pairs to function as a family’s living space plus an in-law suite or investment rental property, or sold as separate condos to different owners. The contemporary, sustainable, and highly efficient units promote community and cooperative living with a range of sizes to match a variety of households, from single-person households to the traditional family model to an extended family arrangement.

Designed to meet LEED Gold, Energy Star protocols will be applied throughout, including specialty roofing to reduce heat island effect, Energy Star appliances, water sense plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient windows and lighting fixtures, and a thoughtful interior layout to maximize daylighting. The wood-framed building will be solar-ready and feature integrated smart home technologies for comfort and convenience as well as efficiency. The transit-oriented development is conveniently located near public open space and a variety of community resources, encouraging the use of public transportation, shared vehicles, walking, and biking, with limited onsite parking spaces available for purchase.

Entrepreneurship

DREAM Collaborative envisions this creative design solution functioning as a prototype for future residential development ventures throughout Boston. It reflects how people live today and reinforces the benefits many first-generation families realize by consolidating their households. It also responds to the renewed entrepreneurial spirit of the gig economy and provides opportunities for investment and wealth creation.

Architecture

Full Architectural Services

Soup to nuts:  from programming to project close-out.

Sustainability

Integrated Sustainable Design

Every project presents sustainable design opportunities. Even if a project will not pursue any certification, there are always  opportunities for sustainability within the design process and material and systems selection. Our goal is always to create healthy, energy efficient buildings and interior spaces.

City of Boston Article 37/80

Preparing the documentation required for approvals related to Boston Zoning Codes for Green Building and Climate Resiliency and review of a project’s impacts on transportation, public realm, the environment, and historic resources.
A MESSAGE FROM DREAM

Moving Forward in the Age of COVID-19

During these times of extraordinary disruption, DREAM Collaborative remains steadfast in our belief that architecture should work toward the Greater Good. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, lines have been blurred and we’re seeing opportunities all around us to reimagine the way we live, work, and organize our society and our spaces. We are honored to play a part in the transition toward a renewed society that prioritizes well-being, equity, and innovation.

As partners, we’re bringing our curiosity and the diversity of our perspectives to conversations about how design and development will need to evolve in a post-COVID world. We’re convening panel discussions and reaching out to other minority and women-owned businesses to brainstorm solutions to the unique and compounded challenges we face. Most importantly, we’re committed to providing the highest level of service and support to our valued clients and partners in the community, who we know are also being pushed to the limits of their resources and ingenuity in order to thrive in this historic moment.