Lyman Terrace dates from 1940, which makes it one of the oldest public housing projects in Massachusetts. It consists of 168 units in 18 two-story brick buildings that occupy three city blocks. The original master plan was based on the superblock concept of the era that eliminated through streets and grouped the buildings around courtyards and pedestrian ways. By the time DHK was asked to prepare a new master plan in 2015 the buildings were hopelessly outdated and the site, after decades of disinvestment, did not offer the residents the services, amenities and safety that the community needed.
The new master plan introduced a radically different urban design concept by creating residential streets that cut across the superblocks and gave each apartment a public “face” with a front yard, a front door and a street address. It also created usable, defensible space for the community by rebuilding the exterior areas with semi-private rear yards and landscaped shared courtyards with recreational facilities.
When the 88 units of Phase 1 were completed the residents moved into apartments that were completely renovated to meet contemporary housing standards of space, technology and amenity. The old, cramped units were expanded with two-story additions that provided much more space with new kitchens on the ground floor and new bathrooms on the second floor. The exterior envelope was upgraded with new roofs, insulation, windows and doors. The interiors were gutted and rebuilt with completely new plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems as well as new interior partitions and interior finishes.