The Avesta Young Street Apartment complex is a 28-unit housing development for people ages 55 and older. Lassel Architects collaborated with Avesta Housing, the Town of South Berwick, Pine Brook Construction and several others to turn an underutilized piece of land located in the heart of downtown into a vibrant community center. The new development is located adjacent to the library, elementary school and downtown area, offering walk-able access to a multitude of shops, restaurants, and municipal amenities. The building is a three-story contemporary take on New England architecture. Three ground-floor units are handicap accessible. Two units were designed specifically for residents with visual or heading impairments. All apartments were designed for lifestyle adjustments to promote the process of aging in place. Residences benefit from a community room and outdoor patio, on-site laundry, recreation equipment storage area and easy residence service coordination. The Young Street Apartments is near net-zero for energy usage because of highly efficient design and construction. Solar panels provide 20% of the building’s overall energy.
The list of COTE (AIA Committee on the Environment) items was created to help understand how a project meets the needs of users and how it impacts the environment. The list focuses on best practices and high impact strategies for creating healthy places to live and work. Here are some ways this project measures up to the COTE list:
A previously unused drainage way set between the abutting elementary school and library was reused. A pedestrian-friendly, well-lit pathway leads from the development to the school.
The development promotes senior activity at the nearby library and elementary school. The outdoor pedestrian walkways promotes walkability within the surrounding neighborhood.
Several rain gardens direct water flow away from abutting properties and improves drainage at the site. Native plants and sustainable landscaping were incorporated, along with Dark Sky lighting and a VRF heating and cooling system.
Neighborhood storm water management was improved with the development. The project utilizes town water and has low flow devices throughout residences and common areas. Bio swales improve ground water protection and infiltration.
Cost sharing for parking and maintenance of paved areas is beneficial to the town. The compact urban site reduces overall site improvement costs.
A high performance exterior shell is air tight. Heating, cooling, lighting and hot water runs approximately $1 per square foot per year. Solar panels and a high efficiency ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) minimizes energy usage.
All finishes and adhesives throughout are low VOC. The ERV promotes fresh air throughout the building. An in house wellness area accomodated visiting nurses and online services for residents. Daylighting is maximized in all spaces.
Recycled products were used where practical. Lumber was sourced from a renewable forestry. The pavement is recycled material. Minimal impervious site improvements were made during construction.
This underutilized urban site was changed for the better. The creation of the well-lit pedestrain walkway between the apartments and the school improves the feeling of community. Storm water management systems benefit the nearby school and library.
Structural JSN Associates
MEP/FP Petersen Engineering
Civil Altus Engineering
Landscape Terra Firma
Year Completed 2017
Cost $3.5 million
Size 28,000 square feet
Residential Units 28 apartments