At 61 stories, One Dalton is the tallest residential tower in the city. It’s also dramatically different than its neighbors along Boston’s so-called high spine of skyscrapers. The building’s glass facade appears muted and transparent—unlike, say, the giant mirror that is the former John Hancock tower. And its shape is triangular in comparison to nearby rectangular high-rises. But this building is now rooted into the Hub (its foundation extends 165 feet down and is “rock-socketed” into the bedrock). Ahead of its anticipated spring opening, we chatted with architect Gary Johnson of CambridgeSeven, the firm that designed the Back Bay’s new skyscraper with Pei Cobb Freed.
What will residents in the penthouses be able to see? Extraordinary views. If you’re looking out toward the airport, you’re seeing all of the high-rise spine, the South End, Back Bay, Charles River and the harbor in the distance. It’s just breathtaking. If you’re looking south, you’re looking almost down to Plymouth, and all of Dorchester lays before you. If you’re looking west, you see all of Brookline, the Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park. If you come around to the northwest, you’re seeing all of Cambridge.
How did you devise the shape? The parcel of land that One Dalton sits on is almost a perfect equilateral triangle. When we were first brought on, my design partner Harry Cobb [of Pei Cobb Freed] and I talked about it a lot—what the form and the shape should be. We concluded very early on that the most efficient thing to do was to follow the shape of the land below. … But there’s a problem with a pure, equilateral triangle, in that it’s a very harsh form. … So the building became a soft triangle. The entire building is really a series of tangent curves.