52 New Street

Location: 52 New Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Completion Date:

Client: Just-A-Start

GSF: 130,000 SF


52 New Street is a mixed-use residential building in Cambridge, MA, located just north of Fresh Pond. At 130,000 total square feet, this building consists of about 110 affordable living units and a ground floor that is home to 3,000 SF of daycare space, a residential lobby, and approximately 43 vehicular parking spaces. The project features nearly 3,000 SF of amenity space and several landscape decks above the ground-level parking areas. As well as conforming to the standards set forth in the newly instituted Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) of Cambridge, this project is targeting a formal Passive House certification.

The design focus for this building includes paying close attention to the site location and immediate context. A primary project goal is to orient the building in a way that it can maximize both views to the Danehy Fields / Park to the northeast and to Cambridge’s Fresh Pond to the southwest, as well as to take full advantage of the site’s long southerly exposure. In an effort to provide visual relief, given the smaller, more residential-scale fabric in the immediate area, the building will incorporate several step-backs and breaks in the overall massing. In addition to building-scale concerns, the design team has a challenge of adhering to the local flood-zone requirements. As a result of this, the first floor of the building will be raised 4-5 feet above street-level with a series of entry terraces and ramps, carefully coordinated with the landscape and civil engineering teams. The client has expressed an interest in using earthy materials and a warmer, rich color palette to skin this building in a way that is both contemporary but site-appropriate in an elegant way.