Boston’s downtown theater district reflects the look of traditional New England, with brick buildings and the historic Jacob Wirth Restaurant, among the oldest in the country. But developer AvalonBay Communities and architect CBT Architects didn’t want to stay with a traditional aesthetic for its apartment building, for several reasons.
The neighborhood was changing, and AvalonBay wanted AVA Theater District to appeal to a younger, socially active, health-conscious, tech-savvy cohort that likes downtown living. And because of limited frontage on the 50-foot-long site, CBT wanted to go dramatic, inspired by the theater district milieu. So the architect designed a five-story glass curtain wall that plays up the lively street scene with an interactive, color-changing silhouette and 20-foot water walls.
The overall feeling is a cutting-edge urban oasis for residents and passersby. Behind the façade, the architects paid homage to adjacent buildings with two different, interlocking towers. One faces a high-rise and has a vertical emphasis, while the other looks toward more residential and mid-rise buildings with a horizontal focus.
The team also sought to retain the restaurant’s charm by setting one tower back so it wouldn’t overshadow the historic venue. Lynd and CBT also reached out to the neighborhood with a public pedestrian pathway that provides access to the nearby Boston Common. The interior amenities, too, appeal to millennial residents—a 100% smoke-free environment, an on-site concierge, a fitness center, and rooftop lounges.