Millennium Place, a 256-unit residential building, is one of the newest, upscale additions to downtown Boston. In a prime location on the commercial spine of Washington Street, the brick building sits along a pronounced and important bend in Boston’s historic district. Taking inspiration from its wedge-shaped lot, Millennium Place boasts wedge-shaped bay windows arranged in a radial pattern.

When it came to choosing the exterior material, the owner required a low-maintenance, durable, and dense exterior envelope. Moreover, the aesthetic needed to attract a range of homebuyers in this high-end historical neighborhood. Brick met all the criteria by connoting stability, having a deep architectural tradition in the area, and having a high preference among home buyers.

The choice of brick went beyond concern for retail sales and classic styling. Continuity in the community also played a large role, so the design team sought to visually link the building to the rich historic texture of the early twentieth-century structures on the east side of the street. The brick’s beige color further echoes the surrounding area. During the 1900s, Roman-size brick was heavily used in this district of Boston. The same type of brick was used on Millennium Place to evoke these centuries-old structures, only this time with a newer, high-performance exterior that today’s modern brick delivers.

To further capitalize on brick’s design strength, a blend of three brick colors was employed to create a variegated surface as well as capture a rich interplay between light and shadow. Additionally, the use of full deep-raked mortar joints helped express the individual brick and created a strong visual texture. Each corner was articulated to define a threshold at the intersections, and at the pedestrian level, special details and character were incorporated, reminiscent of other local decorative details.

Millennium Place incorporates many sustainable design features and is pending LEED Silver Certification

For more of Millennium Place, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.