Boston – Höweler + Yoon and Sasaki announced the exterior completion in December 2021 of the 212 Stuart Street residential tower, located in the Bay Village neighborhood in Downtown Boston.
The 150,000sf, 19-story building contains 126 units with two townhouses and retail space on the ground level. The building rises on a 7,714sf parcel located within Boston’s “High Spine” which connects Downtown to Back Bay neighborhoods. The project, which broke ground in March 2020, was carried through the permitting process by Boston-based Transom Real Estate and is currently being developed by Greystar Real Estate Partners. Höweler + Yoon serves as the design architect and Sasaki is the architect of record.
“Context, here, is everything,” says Sasaki principal, Victor Vizgaitis, AIA. “The entire genesis of the project came from looking for a way to moderate between two markedly different areas of the city.” The tall, narrowed facade of 212 Stuart Street mirrors the facades of other High Spine buildings, while from the south, the solid-void rhythm of the building’s facade echoes Bay Village’s iconic brick buildings.
The subtle relief texture of the facade was designed to create a unique optical effect, and to change as the building is viewed from multiple vantage points throughout the city. The scalloped geometry also references the rich limestone detailing found throughout the adjacent context.
The building’s facade consists of fluted piers (locally fabricated by BPDL) that give the tower a solid appearance and resonate with the masonry detailing of nearby historic structures. The irregularly-spaced concave panels and multi-story, recessed glass infill panels emphasize the building’s verticality. Glazing for the residential units takes the form of a floor-to-ceiling window wall with spandrel glass at the concrete slabs. The wall panels, typically either 20 or 30 feet high, incorporate single, double, or triple concave profiles. The design, while still conveying variety, prioritizes larger panels across eight primary molds in order to reduce installation time by optimizing construction sequencing.
“The design of 212 Stuart Street is rooted in the idea that the tall building operates at multiple scales in the city,” says Höweler + Yoon principal, Eric Höweler, AIA. “When viewed from a distance, the building meets the sky with a distinctive silhouette and participates in the iconic composition of the city’s skyline. When experienced from the sidewalk, the building contributes to the quality of the local Bay Village streetscape.”
“Considering the explicit historical concern in the neighborhood, we studied fluted geometries as a way to express depth and texture on the facade. The fluted columns themselves were constructed by stacking individual sections around a central core,” says Höweler. “This part-to-whole relationship satisfies the drive to maintain historical character, and yet the results are surprisingly contemporary.”