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Old Colony Avenue to get one of those new residential buildings that looks like all the other new buildings

Old Colony Avenue proposal

Architect's rendering, with obligatory birds.

A Charlestown developer last week filed detailed plans with the BPDA to replace the Notre Dame Education Center at 200 Old Colony Ave. with a new six-story building with 54 residential units - and ground-floor space for the adult-ed facility.

Patrick Mahoney's proposed building, which would replace both the current educational center and a single-family house across from the far larger Washington Village complex, would have up to 39 parking spaces in an underground garage.

Mahoney has proposed 4 three-bedroom units to go along with the 19 two-bedroom, 26 one-bedroom and 5 studio units.

The proposed building at 200-204 Old Colony Avenue will be an important addition to this neighborhood. The property is currently occupied by a one-story stucco building, connected to a two-story brick building. The ongoing South Boston Dorchester Avenue Planning Initiative has brought together stakeholders in this area with the consensus being that future development will focus on higher density residential uses and associated commercial uses. This site is well suited to this type of development in that it is proximate to public transportation options as well as the commercial and transportation nodes that occur in South Boston.

200-204 Old Colony Ave. project-notification form (37M PDF).

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Comments

I don't hate that look. I just hate it being everywhere. Try something else?

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Voting closed 21

If people said the same thing when brick rowhouses were sprouting up everywhere....

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...probably will age better than all the pale yellow and beige vinyl siding that was so popular a short time ago... and the Back Bay and South End have more variety among their brownstones...

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Voting closed 30

https://www.bostonmagazine.com/property/2016/08/10/three-decker-anatomy/

She says that by today’s standards, three-deckers would be too large to build on such small parcels of land because of contemporary zoning laws. These stipulations aid in the preservation of the design and architecture of the buildings.

Seems like we could do this again, even quaddeckers ... but we can't have them so close together due to suburban zoning values.

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Voting closed 32

That being said, they are usually pretty big for 2 bedroom apartments. I think if you had to develop all of these properties again, you could squeeze 5-6 smaller units in the same space.

I own a few and have lived in them most of my life for the most part. The only other issue with a lot of triple decker properties is the tandem parking.

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Voting closed 24

Brick row houses were built not only in Boston but other cities because they were deemed fire resistant. People welcomed brick buildings. If this development was built with a brick facade it would be more aesthetically pleasing. Hardy plank and panel siding is used because it's cheap.
Building multi unit developments with fewer parking spaces is being cheap.
Developers today are all about making money. The cheaper things can be built, the higher prices they sell for, the more money goes in their pockets.

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Voting closed 9

Everything is becoming the Seaport

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Voting closed 9

Worth remembering that when the triple deckers were all being built in the early 20th century, people said the same things that they were ugly, cheap, and so on. Now, they're considered iconic symbols of the region.

The reason these current buildings all look the same is because they're less costly to design and build. The problem is with the high cost of building in this region. Bring it down, and you'll get more creative designs.

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Voting closed 14

I think triple deckers came in more colors? Maybe not. Maybe it's just that over the years, they've begun to differentiate themselves..

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Voting closed 22

No. There were only a limited number of exterior paint colors and most people went for white or brown.

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Voting closed 12

But they're still cheap and ugly.

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were cheaply built tenement buildings.

Naw, not buying what you are selling. You can have an innovative design without mucho buckos. It is just many developers do not want to spend too many buckos on the design.

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Voting closed 17

They have to pay an architect anyway, so designing these facades to have a different look wouldn't cost much more (if anything). The use of different materials and construction techniques might add costs but there's nothing inherently more expensive about changing the way these look. You could have a flat front building in bright Caribbean colors and it wouldn't cost more.

I think the cookie cutter design is more of a reaction to NIMBY ism. When every neighbor has a crack at the design, it tends to get whittled down to something representative of what's nearby. Similar color palettes, bay windows (but rectangular to make them more usable on the interior), etc.

The highly cost effective construction technique of building a central block elevator and then a wood framed rectangular building around it also lends itself to very similar buildings. But the exterior facades could still be a lot different than they are for very little additional cost.

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Voting closed 7

There's a housing crisis, why aren't these buildings 40 stories tall?

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Voting closed 43

Where there is narry an affordable unit.

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Voting closed 18

If more people wanted to live like they do in North Korea developers would build 30-40 story buildings.

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Voting closed 13

It's just the current architectural style. Let's be thankful that architects aren't proposing brutalist buildings anymore...

That said, I'm disappointed that they are not preserving and incorporating the existing two-story brick building into the project. They could conceivably add new floors on top.

Still, more homes eight minutes walking from Andrew Square is the sort of development that we should encourage.

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Voting closed 12

Yes, there are bad architects, but they are not always to blame. Architects are typically on a short leash when it comes to developers. An earlier version on the architect's website: https://www.embarcstudio.com/200-old-colony

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Voting closed 15

Oh gosh, I like the current proposal much better than the modernist mess on that website!

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How about they add turkeys and ducks instead of nondescript silhouettes to capture the Boston zeitgeist?

Yea, we all know its equally stupid because adding some birds is the laziest thing the developer could do without committing to anything meaningful.

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Voting closed 12

.

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I think one could call it "lego modern" or "prefab panel modern".

In 50 years, drop the "modern".

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Voting closed 9

It's called the "if we use many types of materials maybe people won't notice how valued engineered it is" style.

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"Late Capitalism"

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One thing I hate about the parts of these buildings that stick out is that they always underinsulate under the bottommost floor, so it gets as freezing as hell.

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Voting closed 17

Doesn't allow for that.

Maybe you're thinking of construction from the 2000's?

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Voting closed 13

Boston's rabid developers and their tasteless lackey "development authority" BPDA have no architectural imagination or taste other than

"How fast can we get this built?"

Sad, because there was a rich architectural legacy that preceded these technocrats. The current mayor missed his chance to leave a significant mark on Boston other than just another luxury condo.

Their fabric does all look alike.

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Voting closed 0