These townhomes form a typological argument in relation to Mies Van der Rohe’s famed Lafayette Park homes across the street while responding to a block plan that is far removed from the modernist antecedent.   

If Mies’ townhomes were envisioned as the archetypal modernist ‘blocks in a park’, Merge’s townhomes are inserted within a master plan featuring large parking facilities at the center of ‘blocks where you park’. If Mies’ townhomes were placed as pure rectangular forms within a verdant landscape, Merge’s townhomes – squeezed between street and three-story parking garage – must create their own outdoor space through fine-grain formal manipulation.

To this end, Merge developed three, two- and three-story unit types that aggregate to form five buildings, comprising a total of 45 units across three city blocks. Each unit type maintains a row house footprint but shifts in massing suggest an interlock between adjacent units. These shifts and subtractions in plan and elevation provide pockets of outdoor space – balconies, stoops, and courtyards – that allow a flow between indoors and out. While more urban than the lawns of Lafayette Park, these interstitial spaces represent a more nuanced condition of inhabitation between private and public realms.

The materiality of the resultant blocks reinforces the manipulated massing while alluding to Mies’ minimal palette. Two tones of brick – a light white referencing the infilled end walls of Lafayette Park and a dark iron spot alluding to its steel frames – further obfuscate the outline of each unit. Wood siding lines balconies and entries, offering a warmth analogous to the trees of Lafayette Park. 

Not afforded the mid-century blank block of Mies, these townhomes provide a template for similarly gracious living in more constricted – and contemporary – urban conditions.

Merge Architects Inc.
332 Congress St. Floor 6
Boston MA 02210


We are driven by an unrelenting curiosity, optimism, and urgency to change our built environment for the better.

Merge Architects

General Inquiries

Please submit any general inquiries to:


View Available Positions

Merge is always interested in adding new talent to our team! Please feel free to submit your portfolio to: