Project File: Close quarters

May 1, 2005
Northeastern University, Davenport Commons, Boston

When Northeastern University, Boston, made plans to expand into a parcel of land that had been vacant for almost half a century, local activists and community leaders objected. Instead of fighting back, the architect, developer and campus planners teamed up with community leaders to create Davenport Commons, a development offering a combination of student housing and affordable family housing.

The university and architect worked with the community to create a design that combined student apartments with affordable townhouses for neighborhood residents. The partnership included an unusual design-build leaseback agreement between a private real-estate consortium and the university to ensure the project's financial viability.

The development was designed to provide a seamless transition from the institutional structures of the university to neighboring residential buildings. The facades of the buildings were created to reflect the feel of the neighborhood. Extensive landscaping served as a final touch, providing a strong sense of place and community, as well as continuity.

The architect for this project is Domenech, Hicks & Krockmalnic (DHK) (Boston).

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