The South End neighborhood of Boston is one of the nation’s most celebrated historic places, one that is zealously protected by residents and public officials alike. The Allen House was built in 1859 and is one of the oldest and most significant mansions in the South End. At the close of the 20th Century, this neighborhood was re-establishing itself as one of the most desirable places to live in Boston and as one of its most diverse communities. A private developer recognized an opportunity to provide private condominiums within the shell of what had formerly been an elegant townhouse and an attached performance venue.
This project required the complete reconstruction of the interior of the prominent brownstone and its attached auditorium, both of which had been largely gutted, and the historic restoration of the buildings’ facades. DHK designed the eleven market rate condominiums to take advantage of the high ceilings and tall windows that open to an enviable urban setting. The architectural rehabilitation of the facades included restoration of brownstone and brick masonry, the recreation of an original cupola, stone balusters and front yard fence, as well as the addition of dormers and other decorative elements.
In order to make use of the multi-story open space in the former theater, several new floor levels were created that had to be carefully coordinated with the existing masonry openings that featured arched windows. The circular oriel windows on the top floor were added to provide natural light, with the acquiescence of the historic Landmarks Commission.