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Redefining Urban Living

Frost Terrace

Located in the heart of bustling Porter Square, Frost Terrace is a unique, transit-oriented, 100% affordable family community. By weaving together three historic houses, significant contemporary architecture and a dynamic, human-centered landscape, the design transforms a forgotten residential site, along a commercial avenue, into high-quality multi-family housing.

Cambridge, MA Completed: 2021 50,000 sf LEED Gold Certified
Photography by © Robert Benson Photography

With cost of living on the rise and the percentage of low- and middle-income households dwindling, Cambridge was in need of more affordable housing. This issue, identified as part of a multi-year planning and visioning initiative called Envision Cambridge, is often cited as one of the most significant social issues in the city. Frost Terrace creates needed, high-quality, multi-family housing for 40 low- and middle-income households.

The design of the buildings and site at Frost Terrace contributes to a vibrant streetscape and unfolds in a varied volumetric composition that transforms its site and context for contemporary use. The composition has four anchoring elements— (1) the former ‘William Frost House’, a restored second empire building relocated on the site into realignment with an adjacent historic church building; (2) a five-story masonry volume set behind the William Frost House constructed c. 1865; and (3 and 4) twin shingle style homes constructed c. 1900. An elevated three-story ribbon-like, clapboard volume knits together these diverse elements and unifies the site.

Frost Terrace’s approach to sustainable design aligns with the principles of affordable housing—lowering utility costs, conserving resources, prioritizing mobility (bikes and transit) and creating healthy living environments for residents. This LEED Gold certified project includes re-used existing buildings and materials, wood structure and finishes, energy recovery ventilation, efficient electric-driven heat-pump systems and highly insulated envelopes.

Awards

  • 2021 Cambridge Historic Commission Preservation Award
  • 2021 BD+C Reconstruction Awards, Silver Winner
  • 2022 The PLAN Award, Shortlist - Housing Category
  • 2022 Retrofit Metamorphosis Awards, Multifamily Housing, 2nd Place
  • 2022 BE+ Green Building Showcase, Equity + Inclusion Award