The Chrysanthemum Building creates an affordable, sustainable new model for residential development in a dense urban infill site. The project includes 4 micro-units and 6 adaptable family lofts. The building uses mobile app and social media networks integrated with efficient building systems to create a user culture that supports local sustainable services.
The North End of Boston is characterized by it narrow streets and alley ways, its brick buildings and cascading fire escapes, and its social fabric. The Chrysanthemum Building takes its identity from all these through its set-back terraced façade that gives out onto the street, its transformation of wrought iron fire escapes into a digitally designed and fabricated screen wall, and a commercial space that spills out onto the street reinforcing the neighborhood’s street-life. The carved-out rear courtyard underscores the project’s motivation to create spaces that benefit from natural light and promote a state of well-being and permanence.

The Chrysanthemum Building builds on the idea that city living can promote new urban ecologies. The project promotes a “common sense” culture of building-related communication networks, domestic farm-to-table slow-food production, and embraces a car-free life style that mines alternative forms of transportation such as subway, bus, and ferry. Each Unit is provided with a bicycle, storage, and Bike Share Mobile App. From the project’s carbon sequestering wood construction, its large windows that distribute natural daylight, and high-efficiency infrastructural systems that anticipate the region’s growth in wind-energy, the Chrysanthemum Building creates a model for environmentally responsible urban development.

The Chrysanthemum Building is financed based on the principle that short-term investments must not prevent long-term opportunities for responsible energy conservation and adaptability to changing urban life styles. The demands and constraints of a small urban site required working with neighborhood associations and the City’s redevelopment authority to reconsider zoning ordinances which would have resulted in parking at the street in lieu of commercial activities that characterize the neighborhood. The limited dimensions of the site required an alternative to steel and concrete construction resulting in a “softer” wood frame construction adaptable to the urban context and providing opportunities for local contractors to participate in the local economy.

Date: 2014
Status: In Construction
Client: RAFI Properties
Location: North End, Boston, MA
Design Team:

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Chrysanthemum Building