Flat 9 at Whittier is the phased redevelopment of the Whittier Street Apartments site in Roxbury, MA, which was originally built in the early 1950s to provide 200 public housing units. The newly designed master planned transit-oriented campus will provide 320 mixed-income units, commercial space, and a variety of resident amenities.
Phase One, which was honored with the 2020 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the HUD Preservation Category, is a new four-story building that acts as a transition from the larger planned structures to the north and west, with a rhythm of direct-access townhouses along Whitter Street. Its strong masonry base is visually interrupted with multi-story vertical elements, further perforated by colorful entries that add a layer of depth between the private entrances and the public realm. The vertical window groupings are articulated with a wood-grain spandrel panel, which warms the overall material composition. Of the 92 units, 66 are designated as affordable to households at or below 60% of the area median income. Amenity spaces include a community room, business center, activity room with a kitchen, playground, outdoor recreation area, bicycle storage, and an underground garage.
Phase Two, completed in 2021, consists of two new three-story buildings organized around a central interior courtyard with outdoor recreation space, walking paths, and a playground. Complementing Phase One, the “stacked flats” are designed to provide connectivity directly to the street and courtyard to encourage engagement.
Central to the master plan, the ground floor units have a rhythm of entries and common stairways that provides porosity and connectivity to the other phases while activating the newly created streets of Choice Way and Tenor Lane. Cantilevered bay windows signify the building entrances above an articulated masonry base that is unified by the entry canopies. The building corners are uniquely distinguished in their height and articulation, while responding to their adjacent context by anchoring the buildings in the urban setting.
Inspired by the area’s deep history of underground jazz, Flat 9 at Whittier aims to create a healthy, safe, and accessible environment and reconnect the buildings to the broader neighborhood. Essential to the area’s revitalization, the property offers access to on-site resident services ranging from healthcare enrollment and food distribution to financial services.