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Amherst developer imports Portland, Oregon approach to infill design
When Amherst, MA, real estate developer Archipelago Investments LLC (“AI”) wanted to introduce a LEED-certified, mixed-use infill project into historic downtown Amherst, they sought out an architectural firm with experience doing just that.
“AI conducted a national search for a top-notch firm to work with, one who understood the unique opportunities and limitations of the product type. From our first conversations with John Holmes and Alan Jones, it was clear we had found a group dedicated to absolutely highest-quality design, understands how to build a building, and is conscious of real-world constraints on small lot infill development.”-
Boltwood Place is Holst’s first project on the east coast. Constructing the 12-unit, mixed-use residential building into the town’s historic, pedestrian-oriented city center was a familiar exercise. The firm has completed seven mixed-use projects in and around Portland with several more currently in various stages of development.
In Amherst Holst took cues from the existing New England downtown while confidently designing a 21st century modern building. Proportion and scale were masterfully employed, traditional New England touchstones of clean lines and minimal detailing were carried out, and a complimentary exterior palette of white clapboard and cedar siding was crafted to create a project extremely comfortable in its environment.
"Our approach in the initial phase is to carefully read the context of the site. Often the site is a loaded map that contains patterns, portions, materials and textures that begin to reveal the solutions and impulses of the design, which follows. In Amherst, like many towns and cities of its era, the map is made up of a series of smaller parcels that produce a pattern of low and mid-rise buildings and elements that produce a rich pedestrian-friendly urban environment. In addition to the urban patterning and proportions, the materials and textures for the building were revealed by observing what has worked and been chosen locally over time. In many ways, the solution was already there we just put it together in way that reflects our modern sensibilities"
Located on a 5,000-square-
“The Town of Amherst, home to Amherst College and the UMass flagship campus, has recently undergone a community-wide master planning effort, the first since the 60’s. The new master plan recognizes that the goal is no longer just to prevent bad development, but to foster good development. Good development requires great design.”- Archipelago Investments, LLC
All units at Boltwood Place were occupied immediately after opening in August 2012 and over 600 inquiries have been made about future availabilities. Units are one and two bedroom, ranging from 650 to 1000 square feet, and occupants reflect the broad spectrum of Amherst residents. Although there are some residents who protest the introduction of a contemporary building within the city’s historical context, Boltwood Place has received overwhelming support for slipping into the existing context with ease.
About Holst Architecture
For two decades, Holst Architecture has crafted innovative solutions in building design that blend principles of sustainability and state-of-the-
Contact: Allison Milionis
About Archipelago Investments, LLC.
Archipelago Investments, LLC focuses on projects that are strategically developed to realize the long-term planning goals of the communities in which we work. Outstanding architectural firms are employed to deliver highest-quality design and LEED certification.
Contact: Kyle Wilson