The shiny new building at the corner of Huntington Avenue and Louis Prang Street is the newest addition to the Wentworth Institute of Technology campus.
Opened last fall, the Apartments at 525 Huntington residence hall provides housing for Wentworth juniors and seniors by means of 305 beds in apartment-style units on seven floors. With a total of 72 units that consist of 51 four-bed apartments, 20 five-bed apartments and one resident director apartment, each unit is organized around an open common space with framed window views of the cityscape.
“This apartment style layout provides the residents with an increased degree of privacy and a quality of materials and amenities that many students seek when they opt for off-campus housing,” said Phillip Bernard, Wentworth’s director of housing and residential life.
Amenities are important, but energy conservation and cost-savings are crucial.
“From an overall campus perspective, this is the ‘greenest’ building we’ve built from the ground up,” said Kevin Smith, Wentworth’s clerk of the works.
“We worked very closely with NSTAR and National Grid to maximize our energy rebates and capitalize on using the most state of the art energy efficient and conserving technologies available,” he added.
“We used low-E 60 solar glass glaze coating on the windows of the building, which blocks sunlight in the hotter months and alternatively allows sunlight through the glass during the colder winter months, which then conserves heating and cooling costs, thus saving money. We also installed LED lighting and ERUs, or energy recovery units, to capture, filter, and reuse hot and cold air in the building,” added Smith.
When it came time to discuss recycling posts for the building, the design team chose not to select trash compactors but rather continue using single-stream recycling bins that are later sorted. The decision, explains Wentworth’s Physical Plant Director Bob Ferro, is rooted in the school’s relationship with Boston Public School's “Strive Program” organization.
“For 26 years now, WIT has been proud to maintain a relationship with Boston Public School's “Strive Program,” where we provide jobs to developmentally delayed young adults who hand sort our trash for placement in the proper recycling sorters,” said Ferro, “It’s a win-win for us and for BPS's “Strive Program,” and we’re very dedicated to the continuation of this partnership,” he added.
In addition to living in a brand new energy efficient building, students were a part of the crucial design process. “From the very beginning it was important to us to include the students (then freshmen and sophomores) who would eventually be living in the residence once it was completed,” said Bernard. “They were involved at every level, from selecting paint colors to carpet textures, furniture, bedding and kitchen amenities,” added Bernard.
A typical suite consists of a living room, kitchen, two bathrooms, and several bedrooms. Bedrooms are furnished with a bed, desk, desk chair, bureau, and closet for each student. Internet/network connections are provided for every student, and each suite is equipped with a cable jack in the suite's living area providing cable free of charge. Students can live in suites ranging from four to five people, with bedroom options of singles or doubles.
The building footprint is 13,670 square feet with transparent gathering spaces provided at the ground floor Level along Huntington Avenue and Louis Prang Street. An additional 2,350 square feet of the site is planned for a landscaped entry plaza on the Huntington Avenue side, consistent with existing campus green/open spaces found along this major transportation pathway. The ground floor includes a mix of student apartments, offices, common areas, bike storage and trash as well as loading and service functions along Vancouver Street. The apartments expanded the current campus life facilities and were designed to enhance the campus experience by motivating and attracting Wentworth juniors and seniors to reside in on-campus housing rather than in the surrounding neighborhoods or suburbs of Boston.