New Construction Awards 2005: Blending into the Neighborhood

Sept. 30, 2005
Honorable Mention: 25 Channel Center, Boston

In the 1800s, Fort Point Channel in Boston was known for a multitude of incoming and outgoing ships and barges. Beginning in the 20th century, Boston began to grow beyond the harbor, replacing boats with trains, trucks, and heavy industry.

Some things, however, never change: Today, the district still maintains its industrial character of timber, brick, and steel. In an effort to bring new life to Boston’s historic Fort Point Channel district, 25 Channel Center was erected. The center - including basement parking, ground-floor retail, and 12 floors comprising 76 luxury condos - perfectly combines sleek/modern style with a historic/industrial look.

The cast-in-place concrete walls were clad with panelized masonry (as opposed to conventional brick), blending the center into its surroundings as well as reducing construction time. Glass curtainwall was installed, giving the building modern, clean lines and offering tenants unobstructed views of downtown Boston and the harbor.

Condos, including flats and duplex units, offer hardwood floors, high-end kitchens, custom wood trim, individual climate control, video security, high-speed Internet, and private balconies. The flats were built with high ceilings and double-height space for each duplex, evoking an open feel and further enhancing the impact of floor-to-ceiling windows.

To increase sustainability, the use of carpet was minimal. When it was used, the type of carpet chosen was intentionally eco-friendly and beneficial to tenants. Corridor carpeting was made of 50-percent recycled nylon and residential carpeting of 100-percent wool. The wool was installed to eliminate VOCs and improve indoor air quality. Low-E (low-emissivity) windows and a TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roof membrane were also used, reducing dependence on HVAC systems and the associated costs.

All of these sustainable elements contributed to the center’s total $35-million construction budget. The building was completed in August 2004 and encompasses 184,154 square feet. Successfully demonstrating the ability to infiltrate modern technology and looks into a historic setting, 25 Channel Center sets an example for the future redevelopment of South Boston.

Lauren M. Wylly served as editorial intern at Buildings magazine.

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