Multifamily Housing Design: Three Approaches for Growing Cities

Webinar On-Demand
Sponsored by TAMLYN
Presented by Ellen Anselone, Wendy Dunnam Tita, Rob Law, Lara Pfadt, and Talmadge Smith

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe three approaches used by the projects discussed to integrate multifamily housing into the surrounding communities and buildings.
  2. List three development strategies used to identify innovative options for affordable multifamily housing.
  3. Provide three examples of changes in public housing strategies in the past two decades.
  4. Discuss several ways in which open space in multifamily housing projects can be used to engage the occupants and the surrounding community.


1 AIA LU/Elective
SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
This course is approved as a core course
This test is no longer available for credit

This webinar is part of the Multifamily Housing Academy.

This webinar will explore current design practices, strategies, and materials used in multifamily housing projects and profile three unique projects:

  • The Lucas, a 33-unit luxury condominium residence, formerly the late 19th century Holy Trinity German Church, at 136 Shawmut Avenue in Boston’s South End by Finegold Alexander Architects;
  • The Boulevard, a 12-story, 120-feet-tall structure with 31 luxury residential units and five artist live/work lofts in Boston by Finegold Alexander Architects; and
  • Fountain Place, a new 45-story residential tower designed by Page Architects. AMLI Residential will complete Pei Cobb Freed’s Fountain Place Master Plan in Dallas.

Each presenter will demonstrate the design constraints and challenges as well as their solutions while highlighting differing approaches to integrating multifamily housing into the surrounding city buildings and spaces. The presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion in which the panelists will discuss how their projects address a variety of issues, including cost and affordability, community concerns, unit design, and open space.

Ellen K. Anselone, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, vice president and principal of Finegold Alexander Architects, and Lara Pfadt, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, architect and sustainability strategist at Finegold Alexander Architects, will present on The Lucas—a former church turned condo in Boston—and with Robert Law, AIA, associate and architect at Finegold Alexander Architects, present on The Boulevard—live work and commercial units in Boston.

Wendy Dunnam Tita, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP, principal and interior architecture director of Page Architects, and Talmadge Smith, AIA, LEED AP, will present on the Fountain Place project—a symmetrical prism of emerald green glass in Dallas—with a basic focus on how the projects came into being and how the key design elements actually work.

The presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion in which the panelists will discuss how their projects address four key issues:

  • Cost: What tradeoffs did they need to make to get their projects built? Did innovative design add costs that needed to be recouped in other areas of the project, or did it reduce overall costs?
  • Regulatory barriers: What regulatory or other legal barriers did the project need to overcome? What strategies did the design team use to overcome them?
  • Unit Design: What innovative design approaches were used at the unit level? How did unit-level design considerations influence the broader design of the whole building and vice versa?
  • Open Space: How was open space provided in the project? How much of it is public, how much is private, and what is the relationship, if any, between the two?
The Lucas.

Photo courtesy of Finegold Architects

EAnselone Ellen K. Anselone, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a principal and serves as vice president of Finegold Alexander Architects. She has been with the firm for more than 25 years and leads the private development market sector as well as and the public and higher-education library sectors. Ellen’s recent projects include award-winning work for The Lucas, The Boulevard, The Godfrey Hotel, Cambridge Boutique Hotel, Agnes Varis Campus Center at Tufts University, and public libraries in Stoughton and Amherst, Massachusetts. She is currently leading two projects at Babson College; VITA, a new mixed-use development in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; and 260 High Park, an adaptive use of a former church building in Toronto, Canada.
Wendy Tita For more than two decades, Wendy Dunnam Tita, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP, has sought to integrate innovation and forward-thinking strategy with exceptional design quality. She is a Page principal, interior architecture director, and housing and hospitality market sector expert. Wendy’s success as an architect derives from a process rooted in listening. Her passions lie in building upon the inspiration at the core of the client’s needs and project goals to imagine creative, elegant design solutions that explore and expand opportunities aligned with budget, scope, and schedule. Building upon the foundations of interior architecture, Wendy’s other areas of expertise include the expression of brand/identity with interior space, marriage of workplace and wellness solutions, and integration of custom-designed furnishings, art, and architecture.
Rob Law Robert Law, AIA, brings 18 years of experience and is a technically driven designer with a broad skill set enhanced by experience in a variety of construction trades. He has been a leader in numerous projects involving complex site and construction challenges and is often embedded with project site teams. His work is both conceptually strong and functionally rigorous. He is an experienced technical project manager, guiding projects from the master planning stages through construction administration, and a trusted team member in leading client committees, consultants, designers, and builders.
Lara Pfadt Lara Pfadt, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, brings 18 years of experience in preservation, adaptive reuse, and new construction projects for higher education, government, and the private development projects. She brings expertise and a passion for sustainable design and serves as the firm’s sustainability strategist. Lara has a demonstrated track record with systems integration as it relates to sustainable practices and the role it plays in preserving and reusing existing buildings. She is highly skilled in developing sustainable solutions to create high performance in historic buildings. Recent projects include The Lucas Residences, The Dahod Family Alumni Center at The Castle, and Gibbs School in Arlington, Massachusetts.
T Smith Talmadge Smith, AIA, LEED AP, came to Page as an experienced architect. The Dallas native first received a double undergraduate major in art and business from Abilene Christian University, which confirmed to him that creativity could be translated into a sustainable career. Afterward, Talmadge spent three years at a small architecture firm back in his hometown, which inspired him to achieve a Masters of Architecture from Yale University. During his graduate studies, his travels through Europe, China, and the northeastern United States were the genesis for his current ideology that culture and climate directly influence the personality of a design.


TAMLYN TAMLYN is a family-owned company with 50 years in the building products industry and has placed a great deal of recent focus on building science, especially moisture management. This direction led to the development of their TamlynWrap® line, Drainable with its 1.5mm bonded filament creating an enhanced WRB, and RainScreen 6.3 (1/4”) and 10.1 (3/8”). TamlynWrap® RainScreen is a multi-layer water management system, intended for use over existing WRB or coated sheathing, of cavity spaces that are non-compressible and act as a furring matrix to promote enhanced drainage and drying, paired with improved installation efficiency.


Originally published in March 2019