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Committee on Temporary Shelter

95 North Avenue is a thoughtful renovation of an historic building and new addition that creates a mixed use building with affordable rental apartments, office space for COTS and a Daystation which serves clients 365 days a year.

This project presented many challenges: contaminated and poor structural soils, an historic building that had been severely altered in a 1984 renovation and in need of major structural repairs, and a zoning district bordering an historic residential neighborhood. Solving these challenges while incorporating a tripartite program of a daytime homeless facility, 14 new apartments, and administrative offices provides an inspirational example of how architectural/preservation solutions can also provide ancillary benefits like restoring historic features of a neglected building, increasing neighborhood green space, improving street circulation, and creating a positive neighborhood image.

Dating to the 1890’s, the original building was constructed with three and two story portions facing a growing commercial center. Retail businesses occupied the first floor, while the upper floors provided apartments, probably for the first floor proprietors. Entrance to the upper floor apartments occurred at the intersection of the two and three story portions. The 1984 renovation destroyed historic fabric, added a glass intervention that disrupted the historic pattern of the original facade, and concealed poor conditions by cosmetic improvements to the remaining historic portions.

The renovation returned the essence of the original storefront through characteristics of scale, rhythm and embellishments that identify it as commercially oriented; reconnected the primary facade by removing the 1984 glass connector; and patched/repaired the wood clapboards of the original building. All new materials on the historic building match or are compatible with original materials. Design decisions were guided by the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards” so when budget problems of contaminated soils and additional structural work necessitated applying for historic tax credits, the application was readily approved.

Site plan changes include improving the circulation system, reducing stormwater flows, and creating a more pedestrian friendly streetscape by adding a sidewalk and landscaped buffer between sidewalk and building. Minimizing the size of the new addition left substantial green space at the western edge for gardening (berries, raised beds, etc.) and recreation space, transitioning the scale to the adjacent single family home.

Environmental features include R30 walls, R42 CI roof; blower door results of .15 CFM50/SF; fiberglass windows (U-.30); linoleum in apartments and Daystation and recycled carpet tile flooring in office spaces; materials were selected for durability and sustainability: fiber cement and metal siding, wood accents; high efficiency gas-fired boilers; ERV ventilation; all LED lighting; interior and exterior bike storage.

East Facade Of 95 North Avenue