HMFH-Designed Affordable Housing Debuts in Cambridge's Central Square
CAMBRIDGE, MA Temple Place Apartments, a 40-unit low income housing development, in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. Designed by Cambridge, Massachusetts, -based HMFH Architects, Temple Place is built on the site of the Cambridge YWCA's former pool building by the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) under an agreement with the YWCA and the CHA affiliate Cambridge Affordable Housing Corporation. The project is a model for creative collaboration among public and private partners working to deliver affordable housing close to jobs, schools and public transportation.
Constructed in a densely settled urban neighborhood, the project presented a variety of challenges for Nauset, including assuring the safety of neighbors while minimizing disruptions to the building's abutters, the YWCA facility. Nauset Construction completed the project for project owner CHA, utilizing the design of Cambridge-based HMFH Architects to achieve Enterprise Green Community certification.
"We had to tightly manage site logistics and other construction activities throughout the process so as to not interfere with the ability of the YWCA and its neighbors to function properly," said Nauset President Anthony Papantonis. "Our vast experience working in dense urban settings as well as building sustainable projects served us well on this transit-oriented development."
The six-story building includes a mix of one and two-family units designed to achieve certification from Enterprise Green Communities, a benchmark for sustainability and energy performance in the affordable housing sector. The apartment units feature bamboo floors, abundant daylighting, sustainable building materials, and energy and water conservation equipment. Temple Place is within a two-block walk to grocery, retail, and public transportation options, including a Red Line subway stop and a regional MBTA bus hub.
"We're glad we can make the units available to folks who would otherwise be excluded from the housing market," said. Gregory Russ, Executive Director of the Cambridge Housing Authority. "This is a real opportunity to keep low income families in Cambridge. Without housing like Temple Place, these families have no hope of residing in Cambridge."
Tenants at Temple Place pay what they can afford instead of a prescribed rent based on size of unit. Residents must make below 60 percent of the area median income. According to the CHA, most tenants earn below 30 percent of the area median income.
"Reaching this occupancy milestone required dedication and conviction from the Cambridge Housing Authority and each of its project partners," said Lori Cowles, AIA, Principal with HMFH Architects and a longtime Cambridge resident. "Our task required overcoming many obstacles together to reach this opening, and the result is an attractive, affordable housing located in the City center where it is so urgently needed."