Generate Architecture + Technologies—a startup out of MIT and Harvard—has partnered with Placetailor, a fully-integrated development, design, and construction company, to deliver Boston’s first ground-up, full Cross-Laminated-Timber (CLT) Passive House demonstration project.
As a winner of the 2018 Wood Innovation Grant from the U.S. Forest Service, Generate has been developing a catalogue of tech-enabled and replicable kit-of-parts building solutions which utilize mass timber—a sustainable engineered wood product—to address the region’s twin pressures of increased urban density and carbon footprint reduction. Over the past year, Generate has been actively seeking progressive developers to deploy its first demonstration project, which they anticipate will serve as a catalyst in the Greater Boston area, and eventually globally.
Placetailor has been leading the sustainable housing revolution in Boston by exclusively delivering Passive House, net-zero energy, and net-zero carbon buildings for over a decade. Building off of Placetailor’s focus on low carbon and prefab technologies, the collaboration with Generate will deliver to Lower Roxbury the first project utilizing their Model-C: a replicable system for housing delivery methods designed to address climate and community.
The building will be comprised of 14 residential units, as well as an innovative, affordable co-working space for the local community on the ground floor. This new five-story, mixed-use project will bring into clear focus the benefits of prefabricated kit-of-parts construction toward the development of healthy, comfortable, and carbon-positive workforce housing in Boston. By replacing conventional concrete and steel construction materials (which significantly contribute to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere), the Model-C system functions instead as a carbon sink, storing the carbon in the timber of the CLT cellular structure and envelope over the building’s lifetime.
The system operates at a net-zero carbon level, and is Passive House certified, built to the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development “Zero Emissions Standards,” developed with Placetailor. The building system features a CLT rooftop canopy to easily mount solar panels, and modular bathroom pods prefabricated off-site, which can be hoisted and easily plugged into the building, further compressing the project schedule and reducing construction waste.
The project received zoning approval in September of 2019, and documentation will be submitted for permitting in January 2020. Construction is expected to begin in June of 2020. By significantly reducing interior framing, and by speeding up the exterior envelope construction, this Model-C prototype is anticipated to be complete by the end of2020.
Generate and Placetailor are partnering for the architectural design scope of the project, while Placetailor is also serving as the developer and general contractor. Buro Happold Engineering has equally joined the team, bringing expertise in CLT construction from UK projects. The team is additionally exploring the application of the Model-Csystem on projects across the US, ranging from 6 to 18 stories, based on the new 2021 Tall Wood building codes. Thisfirst Model-C demonstration prototype will be featured and available for tours at the Industrial Wood Based Construction (IWBC) conference in Boston on November 4th.
This work was generously supported by the U.S. Forest Service and the Softwood Lumber Board.
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Integrated Development Strategies – PLACETAILOR:
Evan Smith: President, Director of Development
Colin Booth: Director of Strategy
Design Team – GENERATE:
John Klein, CEO
Zlatan Sehovic, Architecture Director
Chris Weaver, Design Director
John Fechtel, Technology Director
Jaehun Woo, Designer
Clarence Yi-Hsien Lee, Designer
Design Team – PLACETAILOR:
Andres Bernal, Director of Architecture
Michelangelo LaTona, Project Architect
Travis Anderson, Director of Design Studio, Energy Specialist
Elizabeth Hauver, Energy Modeling
General Contractor – PLACETAILOR:
Laura Jolly, Construction Manager
Evan Smith, General Contractor
Structural Engineering – BURO HAPPOLD:
Paul Richardson, Principal
Wolf Mangelsdorf, Partner
MEP Engineering – RIPCORD Engineering:
Sonia Barrantes, Principal
Jacob Staub, Principal
Code Consultants – Code Red: Brian Kuhn, Caitlin Gamache
Digital Imagery: Forbes Massie Studio