Bishop Allen Historic Multi Family Housing

Bishop Allen

Cambridge, MA




  • 4 Buildings, scattered site
  • 32 units affordable rental housing
  • 40,000sf
  • Exterior envelope modernization – siding, windows roofing
  • Interior renovation all finishes, systems, kitchens, bathrooms.
  • 2 handicap accessible apartments


  • $7,500,000


  • 2015

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Renovate and modernize 32 affordable rental units in four historic buildings in Mid-Cambridge.


These four buildings were located at same corner in a busy urban area in Mid-Cambridge and were registered with the Cambridge Historical Commission (CHC). The building exteriors needed substantial repair and we recommended that our client take this opportunity to not only restore the exterior appearance but do so in a way that added energy efficiency and material that would have longer term sustainability. We recommended use of cementitious siding and a wood trim product from New Zealand that was impervious to water damage. The Cambridge Historic Commission approved this novel approach for the exterior. We also recommended use of rigid board insulation underneath this new siding, providing a continuous insulation seal that the building never had. We used the water impervious wood from New Zealand to reproduce the original trim details and selected paint colors typical of the era in which the buildings were originally built. We provided all new interior finishes, MEP systems, flooring, kitchens and bathrooms as well as retaining as much of the interior trim work the common areas as possible (front stairways in particular)

We also had to provide 2 handicap accessible units in one of the buildings. This required a sensitive redesign of the entry porch and addition of the handicap ramp – both of which were also approved by the historic Commission. We removed all interior walls of these two units and provided a new layout that was fully accessible.