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131 Oliver Street - Roof Terrace & Lounge


AIA Chicago - 2023 Lerch Bates People's Choice Awards Project Finalists

Photography: Anton Grassl Photography

Located in Downton Boston, the three conjoined historic 19th century buildings form the corner of Oliver Street. Over time the building’s fabric was slowly erased by a century of use and reuse, ever evolving the space. Our new lobby and tenant lounge evokes a structural and material homage to the memory of the original buildings, and a rooftop deck is choreographed to enhance the visitor’s exper­ience of Boston’s Seaport.

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At each penetration through the three buildings’ ma­sonry walls, blackened steel portals intervene, emphasizing weight and depth. Portals adjacent to the deck frame views to the garden, allowing seasonal changes to become part of the interior experience.

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Access to the rooftop garden is celebrated through a universally accessible ramp. The ramp traces the three-foot elevation difference around a garden planter, becoming a verdant passage to the garden. Upon arrival to the garden, the roof perimeter is continuously planted negating access to the perimeter edge except at three lookouts – outdoor rooms framing views to the Rose Kennedy Greenway and the Seaport, heightening the experience of being at the edge of the building. From the street, the lookouts become abstracted planes of glass reflecting the sky. At night they are illuminated, becoming beacons to the neighborhood.

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Open ceilings reference the building’s manufacturing origins, while fluted, plain-sawn white oak walls provide warmth and tactility to draw visitors from the lobby inside. Original bearing brick is exposed where possible, with layered remnants of previous paint encapsulated to reference the traces of past use.

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