Housing Heads Western

Apartment tower rises as gateway to new campus

Matthew R. Lincoln

Construction on the University’s One Western Ave., a high-rise building in Allston, is slated to end this July. The apartment complex will add several hundred units to Harvard’s graduate student housing lottery.

Peabody Terrace will soon have a twin across the River.

This summer, which will likely see defining decisions on the future of Harvard’s Allston campus, will also see a major new University apartment complex there.

Still nine months from its projected completion date in July, the building at One Western Ave. rises across the Charles clad in yellow insulation.

Starting next fall, its several hundred units will be added to the University’s graduate student housing lottery.


“We see One Western Ave. as the gateway to the Allston campus of the future,” says Susan K. Keller, director of residential real estate for Harvard Planning and Real Estate (HPRE).

Harvard planners say One Western Ave.—located adjacent to the Harvard Business School (HBS)—will be the entrance to the up-and-coming Allston campus.


And the architect, a professor at the Graduate School of Design, says the structure will set the tone for future development down the main boulevard into the new Harvard.

The design incorporates old-style and modern features, says Rodolfo Machado, professor in practice of architecture and urban design and a partner in Machado and Silvetti Associates.

“The University knows that architecture is an important channel through which it can upgrade its image,” he says. “Harvard has a tradition of having done really good architecture in the past. I would like to believe that our building places itself in that tradition.”

In fact, he says, the main components of One Western Ave. relate to existing Harvard architecture.

A three-story U-shaped courtyard will face the River, resembling the undergraduate Houses along the Charles, which are similarly arranged to offer a river view.

Another three-story strip will run above the open side of the courtyard, almost like an elevated bridge.

That strip will connect with a 15-story tower on one corner of the complex, which will mirror the Mather and Leverett towers.

The courtyard will be clad in red brick, while a light-colored stone will make up the tower and bridge. Where the bridge intersects the tower and the courtyard, the materials will overlap as well.

Housing Harvard’s Hordes

When planning for One Western Ave. got underway in 1997, the University surveyed HBS students to see what kinds of amenities students wanted in the new housing next door.