The Esplanade

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1989

The Esplanade is a 206-unit luxury condominium development, on the Cambridge side of the Charles River, overlooking Beacon Hill and downtown Boston. The design maximizes water views and provides every unit with either a roof garden or an enclosed winter garden. The building conforms to the stringent guidelines of the East Cambridge urban design plan, which limited height, required brick construction, and called for building on the street edge. To the south, facing the river, the two towers are terraced, creating sunlight roof gardens with views of Boston. The northern elevation, in contrast, extends the street line vertically. The terraced “hillside” facing the river is made of cream-colored precast concrete panels and stands in sharp contrast to the surrounding brick. Given the high water table, parking is above grade. The design minimizes the impact of the parking base by containing the riverfront elevation with housing units and creating a community garden on the parking roof of the fourth level. Rather than stacking identical apartments one over the other, this design incorporates a variety of orientations, resulting in 35 different unit types. Individual units range in size from one bedroom units of 800 square feet to three and four bedroom units of 2600 square feet.

Project Type: Residential

Client: Cohen Properties

Cost: $60 million

Size: 590000