Merge Architects

Merge Architects

Boston, MA



Emerging out of the 2015 BSA Urban Design Workshop, DotMod is a speculative design investigation addressing the need for additional Workforce Housing in the city of Boston. 

Run by the Boston Society of Architects, the second BSA Urban Design Workshop examined Mayor Walsh’s housing initiative, focusing on the Dorchester Avenue corridor between the Broadway and Andrews MBTA Red Line stops. This area, identified as one of two of the mayor’s housing development “priority zones,” is characterized by light industrial uses, auto-dependent businesses, and underused parcels. Elizabeth Whittaker led one of four teams in producing innovative workforce housing solutions on neighboring parcels. 

The massing of DotMod is informed by a series of existing site constraints, while simultaneously producing opportunities for future development along the Dorchester Avenue Corridor. The playful zigzag of the footprint produces two distinct courtyard spaces, one that stitches the parcel to a prescribed shared greenspace, and one that allows for future greenspace connections. Along Dorchester Ave, the building maintains a solid 70’ tall (required by zoning code) street edge, that prioritizes commercial space and live/work units to help activate the street edge. Moving towards the railyard along the western edge of the site, the building slopes up dramatically to help achieve a greater density of units, while simultaneously providing views towards Downtown Boston and Dorchester Bay. 

DotMod packs in a wide variety of unit types: Studio/Microhousing, 1-BR, 2-BR, 3-BR. Prefabricated units are stacked in such a way that they interact differently with both the common corridor and façade in each segment of the building. This differentiation produces a building with 10 unique facades. Each façade undulates in and out creating a complex network of recessed balconies and terraces, optimizing access to private and semi-private exterior space.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Boston, MA, US
Firm Role: Architect / Designer
Additional Credits: Lanscape Architecture: Landworks Studio, Inc