Boston’s historic North End, a residential neighborhood dating back to the 1630s, poses a unique set of problems for further development. A delicate balance must be struck between providing modern amenities and maintaining the historic community ties. Sargnent’s Wharf, located at the edge of the North End on the inner harbor, offers waterfront and harborwalk access, as well as an essentially clean slate for redevelopment.
The traditional row house development strategy provides a solid point of departure. By rotating each vertical set of units and terracing them, a more optimum solar orientation is reached, and the terraces provide each unit with its own outdoor space; private, yet still a part of the communal urban landscape. Rather than following the traditional double-loaded street front strategy, the residential levels are rear-loaded and elevated. Parking and utility access is hidden away under a new expanse of green space, providing both a significant increase in public space for the community and a more efficient means of urban utility functions. The newly created street-level space along the exterior facades provide ideal locations for restaurant, gallery, and retail programming that activates and engages the adjacent sites, as well as interacting with the harbor walk.