The Downstreet Apartments project located in Barre, VT is a 33,970sf mixed-use building on an urban renewal site. The project site contained three buildings in poor condition. After some review it was determined that the most cost effective approach would be to replace the buildings with a new energy efficient, mixed-use building.
Downstreet Housing and Community Development provides high-quality, safe, affordable housing to the residents of Barre and the central Vermont area. Their goal for this project was to replace three existing poorly functioning and unsafe apartment buildings with a new energy efficient building. They were also looking to replace their existing multilevel inefficient office space with a new efficient and easily navigated office space that included a training/teaching classroom for public educational and outreach opportunities. They partnered with Housing Vermont to develop this project. The final design is a mixed-use building that provides 1- and 2-bedroom units, ample exterior green space, and a new open office suite. Keeping the apartments in the downtown area buttresses Downstreet’s mission, providing residents easy access to shopping, services, and public transportation.
Jury comments on the project were as follows:
- The jury discussed in detail the difficulty of creating good affordable housing projects and wanted to recognize the difficulty and the importance of achieving good design at lower costs. The Downstreet project achieves this.
- Design is part of the solution to the problems of the world: Houses are not inherently green by definition. Community buildings in town on non-glamorous sites with a low budget like Downstreet, are good and a part of the solution.
- This is an admirable project which paid careful attention to context
- This is a very aesthetically pleasing project, and delivered a lot of quality given the limits of budget
- It is a great achievement. Architects in Vermont are taking on the challenge of affordable housing and succeeding at creating pleasant looking buildings given the budget constraints