dimella shaffer, boston

Strung between two parks, the glass-and-copper Loft23 takes modern urban housing to a new level. It was the final building in a large mixed-use development, and in order to fill out the 100-foot-by-200-foot site and meet a 70-foot height datum, the architects designed four stories of apartments with 14-foot ceilings.

In response to the adjacent green spaces on the north and south sides, the shorter end walls open to the landscape with floor-to-ceiling windows, while the longer sidewalls are clad in pre-patinated copper. The result is a building that's transparent from end to end, like a glass box sandwiched between two copper walls. “Every other building, per the design guidelines, was red brick,” says Edward Hodges, AIA. “Historically, copper is a trim element on brick buildings, and being green, it ties into the parks.”

On the southern exposure, protruding sidewalls create a shady urban porch, while on the north the glass box is pushed out to capture direct sunlight. “It's a really unique solution,” said one judge. “The building sits well on the site, and the copper gives it a garden feel.”

principal in charge: Edward Hodges, AIA, DiMella Shaffer
project architect: Kenneth Hartfiel, AIA, DiMella Shaffer
developer: Carin Herring, Forest City Residential Group, Cambridge
general contractor: Jeff Corcoran, Walsh Brothers, Boston
landscape architect: Robert Uhlig, Halvorson Design Partnership, Boston
interior designer: Kathy LaDuca, DiMella Shaffer
project size: 800 square feet to 1,200 square feet per unit
site size: 0.65 acre
construction cost: Withheld
rental price: $2,180 to $3,430 per unit per month
units in project: 51
photography: Robert Benson Photography