Behind the scenes at TRIO Newton: Meet the architect and designer of these new-construction apartments

Behind the scenes at TRIO Newton: Meet the architect and designer of these new-construction apartments

Among new-construction apartments, TRIO Newton was designed to stand out. Here’s how.

With the TRIO Newton model unit opening this month, we got to thinking: What inspired the design of these new-construction apartments? What are notable features? And what was the most intriguing aspect of the project? We asked those questions and more when we sat down with Laura Homich, principal, and Lindsay Bach, interior designer, at PCA, a renowned architectural, planning, and design firm.

Q&A: What you should know about the design of TRIO Newton’s new-construction apartments

What inspired the overall design of TRIO Newton?

Laura: TRIO Newton is located at Newtonville’s prominent Walnut Street intersection. The immediate surroundings include a historic district, the Mass Pike, and a large retail district on the other side of the commuter rail tracks. Mark Development and PCA worked alongside the community and the Newton Area Council to craft a progressive new community that respects its context with quality materials and appropriate historical reference. This project is especially exciting since it signifies the first step of Mark Development in realizing an overall masterplan to reconnect this site and its surroundings to Newtonville’s Washington Street corridor. The project will be LEED for Homes Gold certified.

What are some notable exterior features of these new-construction apartments?

Laura: The push and pull of the façade articulated with bay windows, exterior balconies, and roof decks creates the sense of three buildings on the site — that’s where the name TRIO Newton comes from. Variations in window styling and the roof line give each building individuality, while similar use of materials throughout create the feeling of a unified community. The two-story lobby space bridges the gap between the West and Middle. The separate East building is highlighted by a corner tower, which is visible not only from the Mass Pike but also along a good stretch of Washington Street.

Lindsay: The development has made major investments in the public realm like a welcoming public plaza, widened sidewalks, bike lanes, and an enhanced intersection bridging back to the Village center. It all serves to create a vibrant new community within Newtonville.

What stood out about this project?

Laura: The project as a whole stands out. It is the first of many developments that envisions Washington Street as an inviting corridor, friendly to pedestrians, biking, and public transportation. As the first of many buildings proposed along the corridor, it is setting the standard for the design and character of what is yet to come.

What kind of impression do you want the interior spaces to make?

Lindsay: TRIO is positioned to appeal to sophisticated young urban professionals and empty nesters, requiring an interior design approach that appeals to both groups. Material selection was key in blending the two generations. An abundance of amenity spaces also allowed for an array of programs that cater to any age group. The intention is for the design to be crafted of high quality materials without feeling pretentious. Deep colors alongside accents of Persian-style carpets and dark wood tones bridge new aesthetic sensibilities with traditionalist interiors to create a feel of sophisticated hospitality.

Describe the color palette and selection of materials.

Lindsay: The color and material palette were very much inspired by the target audience. The selection needed to cater to two different generations. In our research, we found both are drawn to a deep, moody palette, so we did so in a contrasting manner with abundance of daylight to keep the spaces from feeling too dark. The material selection is neutral, but with contemporary details to make them feel more youthful.

Laura: We took traditional materials and intentionally gave them new life. For instance, we have a timeless white subway tile, but with a handmade effect at a time when the younger generations are craving the return of handmade goods. We also have large-format tiles with traditional marble veining that, at a closer look, reveal an added graphic imprint. There is also a traditional slate-floor tile, but installed in a chevron pattern.

Tell us about the design of the amenity spaces.

Lindsay: The second-floor Club Room acts as the social gathering space for the active resident. Here, you find a game room, demo kitchen, and multiple lounge areas. We separated and defined uses with open-shelving, paneling, and changes in flooring that simultaneously create cozy nooks and maintain overall transparency in the space. The same philosophy guided our design of the fifth-floor amenity spaces — we combined the more contemporary program of a coworking space with a library, separated by a modern interpretation of French doors that can be converted for private and public functions.

The central lobby has a dramatic staircase — what was the thought process behind the design?

Laura: The central lobby is the main artery connecting the West and Middle buildings. It is a double-height volume with a floating fitness center and glass walkway on the level above. The grand staircase acts as the link between all these spaces. Cascading light fixtures follow the line of the staircase and draw the eye upward to the second floor, where residents can socialize and hang out.

If you had to pick five favorite features of the interior design, what would they be?

Lindsay: I would pick the grand staircase, use of textiles in the furnishings, overall color palette of rich jewel tones, indoor/ outdoor fireplace on the fifth-floor roof deck, and full-slab marble backsplashes in the apartments.

What do you think TRIO adds to the neighborhood?

Laura: TRIO provides a transit-oriented and diverse housing option as well as a destination for a variety of street-level restaurants and retail spaces — it’s just what Newton needs. With roof decks and generous amenity spaces, a broad range of residents can envision themselves living in this community. TRIO has also connected with its neighbors, housing two beloved Newton mainstays within its walls — the Barn Family Shoe Store and the New Art Center. Their inclusion will make the development a place where both residents and the public at large will feel a connection and a sense of welcome.

What stands out to you about TRIO Newton? Come take a tour and see it all for yourself.

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