Options Studio

Jonathan Sergison and Stephen Bates

Project Scope: 
Residential High-Rise with Pedestrian Arcade, Indoor and Outdoor Performance Halls, and Cafe in Boston, MA


This studio explores questions of housing and the city in the context of urbanization and increasing density of our living environment. The project, situated in downtown Boston, carefully considers its neighborhood, materiality, and the issue of scale in its urban form. The style of living proposed is both varied and typical, compact and luxurious. The project is located in the Theater District of downtown Boston southwest of the Commons. The area currently undergoing many development projects, has a variety of building types and scales. Historic three-story brick structures share party walls with contemporary curtain-wall skyscrapers. As the Boston Redevelopment Authority continues to propose higher and denser development throughout the city of Boston, the nature of the high-rise type becomes essential. 

The final project proposes a slender high-rise, in opposition to the typical “highest and best use” proposal generally approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Rather than maximum bulk, the high-rise exceeds development zoning height with  narrow lateral dimensions for minimal wind and light impact. Yet, perhaps more important, the luxury of occupying both sides of the tower within a single apartment all at once, arguably increases unit desirability and cost and allows for a distributed diversity of housing types across the building.