Commercial Rowhouse

Abstract

This project examines the design of the rowhouse, a typical housing type found in Boston, and the manipulation of the rowhouse typology to provide ‘working’ spaces on the ground floor that could be filled with commercial program. The inclusion of commercial activity at the ground floor of a low-rise neighborhood provides a mixed use for the neighborhood, therefore driving an active street life and a safe neighborhood for a variety of users. In this sense, the neighborhood begins to pay for itself with commercial activity and drives the market of surrounding neighborhoods. The manipulation of the building’s section provides different spaces. The use of 1.5-story spaces forms a shift in spaces that can include commercial activity and units that can accommodate a variety of living situations. Once a prototype was developed, it was then implemented on a real site. Located in Roxbury, the ground floor condition of each “face” of this low-rise complex responds to its context by either providing an open commercial space, a small studio/office condition, or an accessible unit. This site was split down the middle to provide a “woonerf”, or shared street, that would foster low-scale commercial activity to facilitate residents of the adjacent neighborhood to reactivate the commercial zone around Roxbury’s Dudley Square.