126 Salem St Development Project wins Holcim Sustainability Award 2014 / by Christopher Antonellis

Boston’s smart, sustainable residential development, called the Chrysanthemum Building,  has won the prestigious Holcim Design Award. Designed by Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd. (KVA Matx) and developed by Rafi Properties, LLC, the Chrysanthemum Building is the first building in Boston to receive a Holcim Award. The Chrysanthemum Building was chosen from a selection of over 6,000 projects by an international jury of experts at the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction based in Switzerland. The Chrysanthemum Building located in Boston’s North End, will break ground at the end of September 2014 with an expected completion date in July 2015.  Central Contractor, Inc. led by Mr. Joseph Boccelli has been selected to build the project. 


“The Chrysanthemum Building transforms a vacant parking lot into a new model for smart and sustainable urban living” said Sheila Kennedy, a principal architect at KVA Matx.  Residences include innovative micro-units that give young people the opportunity to become first time home owners, two-story duplex units and large loft units for families.  Organized around a courtyard green terrace, the Chrysanthemum Building provides abundant natural light and fresh air to enhance all living units and common spaces, reducing operational costs and energy use.  The building structure of locally harvested renewable wood, sequesters 32 metric tons of carbon and minimizes construction disruption. To promote the City’s initiative to use public transportation, each unit will be provided with a bicycle and a designated bicycle storage area.


The Chrysanthemum Building will be professionally managed by a mobile phone app created by Rafi properties. This mobile platform is a smart building management system that will enable residents to manage trash, re-cycling and order neighborhood services.  The mobile app connects residents with local service providers, and encourages the support of sustainable local businesses, restaurants, and healthy food providers.


 “Sustainability is a big part of the lifestyle that Rafi properties developments intend to create. The Chrysanthemum Building is a great example of what new residential developments should be—a combination of sustainable design and construction and intelligent property management.” said Property Developer Mr. Collin Yip, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University. “The Chrysanthemum flower inspires this building’s identity. This common flower which grows in Boston and Hong Kong helps to naturally cleanse urban soil and is a symbol of prosperity, long life and good health.  This is exactly the experience we want to provide for residents”.   



Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd. (KVA Matx) is an internationally recognized design practice that works at the intersection of architecture, digital technologies and emerging public needs.  Led by Principals Sheila Kennedy, AIA and Juan Frano Violich, FAIA the KVA team creates award winning, innovative designs that advance sustainable materials, buildings and cities.  For more information on KVA Matx and the Chrysanthemum Building, please see: http://www.kvarch.net/projects

Sources -

Holcim Award Page - http://www.holcimfoundation.org/Projects/chrysanthemum-building