Bruner/Cott Completes Frost Terrace in Cambridge, MA


New Construction and a Restored 19th Century House Anchor Affordable Housing in Porter Square

Known for residential design in new construction, restoration/renovation, and industrial conversions, Bruner/Cott Architects announces the completion of Frost Terrace, a 100 percent affordable housing apartment community at 1791 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge’s Porter Square. Achieved in partnership with Capstone Communities and Hope Real Estate Enterprises, the complex is in a desirable, transit-oriented neighborhood facing an extreme shortage of such housing. It provides 40 families and individuals with long-term rental options.

Directly adjacent to the firm’s Lesley University Lunder Arts Center on Massachusetts Avenue, Frost Terrace comprises three extant buildings—1 and 2 Frost Terrace, plus a contextual modern addition that balances the overall composition. The William Frost house, built in the late 1800s, was preserved, transformed, and expanded at the rear of the complex to provide additional living quarters. Formerly surrounded by similar houses and the North Avenue Congregational Church (moved to its site from Kirkland Street near Harvard Square in 1867 and is now the Lunder Arts library), the Frost house is the last of its kind on the block, providing continuous historical context.

Designed with light and air in mind, twenty-six of Frost Terrace’s 40 units are generous 2-to-3-bedrooms. Thirteen one-bedroom and one studio unit complete the mix. Reserved for households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), with four units reserved for households earning less than 50% of AMI and four units reserved for households earning less than 30% AMI, the complex received over 900 applications during its initial leasing.

A transit-oriented development that prioritizes space for people over motor vehicles on the site, Frost Terrace offers immediate proximity to the MBTA, bike lanes, and essential community services, as well as 44 secure bike parking spaces. Three parking spaces are provided for residents with disabilities.

Sustainable design strategies include LEED Gold certification aspirations for multi-family mid-rise. Environmental interventions include the installation of solar panels, stormwater management, tree preservation, and energy efficient equipment, complemented by landscaping and paving improvements that created accessible community space.

“Rooted in community building, new contextual architecture, and historic preservation, Frost Terrace’s sustainable design aligns with current principles of affordable housing—prioritizing mobility, lowering utility costs, conserving resources, and creating healthy living environments,” says Principal-in-Charge Jason Forney. “Our goal was to respect and renew the venerable aspects of the site and its structures while delivering environmentally responsible housing for today and tomorrow.”

The Frost Terrace project was made possible by an affordable rental housing award announced by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on July 25, 2018, which provided $57 million in direct subsidies for 19 high-impact projects throughout the state. Additional funding was derived from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and subsidy funds via the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and funds through the City of Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust.


Photos here

Photography Credit: Robert Benson Photography



Julian Phillips Elected to BSA Membership Committee

We are thrilled to congratulate Julian Phillips, NOMA, on his election to the BSA Membership Committee!

The Membership Committee focuses on the diverse concerns of the BSA/AIA membership: gauging interest, advising on issues and generating ideas that foster professional growth. The nine elected members of this committee serve as membership ambassadors to the building-industry community.

“Expanding upon the current role of membership by introducing architecture students to the BSA and connecting emerging professionals with firm leaders, I believe the BSA can become a conduit for students and aspiring architects to learn and grow from exposure and access to firms and leaders in the architecture profession. A strong peer network is valuable to growing the Boston architecture profession.”
– Candidate statement

The 2022 BSA Elections took place from October 5 to November 2. With all the votes counted, the winners have been elected to the 2022 BSA Board of Directors and governance committees. As BSA leaders, these individuals will serve as bellwethers for the architecture & design community in Boston at this pivotal time for the city.

Julian joined Bruner/Cott as a designer in August 2021 and has been working on several of the firm’s preservation projects, including the Arlington Street Church, Hope Central Church, and the Blackstone Steam Plant at Harvard University. He is active in a variety of local and national industry organizations such as the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and its Boston Chapter, BosNOMA, where he serves as Executive Secretary and program coordinator for Project Pipeline 2021. He is also a Young Advisor Board Member for the Boston Preservation Alliance, a Fenway Community Advisory Committee CAC member, Youth Programs Instructor for the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, and a 2021 BSA Unbuilt Architecture Design Award jury member.

Congratulations, Julian! We cannot wait to see what you accomplish during your term!