La Victoire at 25 Isabella Street
Finegold Alexander is designing an 18-unit residential development at 25 Isabella Street, the former Our Lady of Victories Church originally built in 1891 in the Bay Village neighborhood of Boston. Nestled between Back Bay, the South End and the Theater District, Bay Village is Boston’s smallest neighborhood at just 6 blocks in size. The building is being developed by KEMS Corporation, a New England-based private development and construction firm known for its commitment to excellence and building working relationships with neighborhoods. Construction is set to begin this Summer with completion by Spring 2024.
The adaptive reuse plan for the building retains and restores its original historic masonry exterior, with a contemporary infill set well back from Isabella Street. The seven-story insertion of high-end condominium units is designed with complementary materials and sleek profiles, including triangular bays inspired by arched windows of the original nave. While inspired by the original architecture in this way, the addition does not mimic the existing but speaks to our own time, culture and technologies. Together with restoration and stabilization of the historically significant structure, these interventions maintain the integrity of the neighborhood fabric. Sustainability considerations drove many parts of the design. The building is planned as an all-electric building – air source heat pumps provide for heating and cooling of the units. The envelope is designed to perform above energy code requirements. An automated parking system will allow for all parking spaces to be EV ready, and ample bicycle spaces are provided in a dedicated parking area below grade.
“Our team is excited to move forward with KEMS Corporation on this complex transformation of the former Our Lady Of Victories. Together with our client, we have designed a transformative, but respectful reuse of this former house of worship”
- Rebecca Berry
With the goal of universal accessibility and ease of access, the design team is removing the existing forbidding set of stone and brick stairs – not original to the building - that creates an uninviting wall along the sidewalk. With the removal of these worn stairs and establishing the lower level as the entry floor, the revitalized property finally has room to breathe in this densely settled neighborhood. The simplified entry sequence boasts a charming pocket garden and reveals the beautiful lines of the original structure.
“I think it’s a beautiful use of this property. I think you’ve done a nice job.”