HMFH Architects

Temple Place

Cambridge, MA

A long and creative planning process finally turns a shuttered swimming pool into 40 units of affordable housing and transforms the YWCA’s campus into a Green Communities oasis in the heart of Central Square, Cambridge.

The six-story building transforms both the streetscape and the YWCA campus by providing an active use along Temple Street and an accessible entrance that unifies the new and existing buildings around a green space.

Lori Cowles, AIA Principal, HMFH Architects
  • Units 40
  • Walk Score 97
  • Size 47,000 ft2

Co-developed by the Cambridge YWCA and the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA), the building leverages affordable housing tax credits, transit-oriented funding and the city’s affordable-housing trust. The affordable housing furthers the Y’s mission of service to women and families and helps to reduce the CHA’s waiting list. The building includes high-efficiency systems, bamboo flooring, recycled materials, and covered on-site bicycle parking and is certified by the Enterprise for Green Communities.

With a mix of predominantly one- and two-bedroom units, plus several designed for universal access and sensory impairments, Temple Place is a significant addition to the city’s goal of socially and environmental responsible housing. As with most development in Cambridge, neighbors, preservationists, housing advocates, urban designers and livable community activists all participated in a comprehensive permitting process. The resulting scale and placement of the new building, as well as its energetic design, nestles comfortably among its neighbors, bringing new life to the streetscape.

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