Zinc is a bluish-white, lustrous metal with symbol Zn and atomic number 30. ZINC is a 15-story, 392-unit apartment that opened this fall in that pocket of Cambridge near Somerville and Charlestown. Since there's no need to shout, let's just spell it as Zinc for now. In homage to its name, its exterior is covered in colorful cement-panels of blues, blacks, and whites. Rectangular blocks of 120 balconies jut out from the facade in a rhythmic pattern. While the exterior is a cool-toned palette, the overall interior warms up intermittently with pops of orange, purple and green against a very neutral background of gray, stone white and beige. Textured tweeds and twill interplay with solids for a calming canvas that largely recedes from attention. In this design, the interior is a calming and subdued force that counters the busy lives of its residents. People looking for energy and novel visual design in the interior wouldn't find it in the safe choices here.
The theme of science weaves through all of the apartments, because all of the 31 floor plans are named in honor of innovators such as Mendel, Darwin, Bell, Nobel, Arden, Gates, Zuckerberg and Branson. The cheapest unit? The Freud (perhaps because it sounds close to frugal?), a studio for $2,281 per month. The most expensive is the Einstein, a 2-BR at $4,874. The units have everything require for entry into the game of luxury apartments: floor-to-ceiling windows, stainless steel appliances, and in-unit washers/dryers. Light quartz countertops, which have replaced granite as the go-to material in kitchens and bathrooms, contrast with the dark cabinetry. Bonus points for walk-in closets in every unit.
Amenities check the expected boxes that a resident would expect from a full-service building: 24-hour concierge, a clubhouse, a boardroom with a 70-inch screen, a fitness center and yoga studio, a WiFi café, a pet spa, a bicycle workshop with 206 covered bike racks and tools and a 15,000-square-foot outdoor living room with BBQ grills, TVs and a water feature.
Now, the outdoor living space is not an amenity to be enjoyed all the time, which can be a negative for some prospective tenants. The indoor lounge has a billiards table (which seems to have become standard with Boston apartment buildings these days) and a dual-sided glass gas fireplace for maximum enjoyment from multiple perspectives. Their inclusion of a screening room with a 90-inch flatscreen and surround sound. And the color palette is an exclamation point amid the sea of calmness in the building. It's pleasantly dark and dramatic, with images of classic stars on the walls.
OVERALL, ZINC HAS comparable offerings to the other housing options nearby, like the NorthPoint condos, Avalon North Point Lofts and Twenty|20. Zinc expects to cater to young professionals, with 239 1-BR apartments, 91 studios, and 62 2-BRs.
The team that brought this project together—Wood Partners for development, Lend Lease for construction, Symmes Maini & McKee Associates (SMMA) for design, Copley Wolff for landscape design, Planeta Basque Boston for interior design and Monogram Apartment Collection LLC for property management—have put together a good, but not earth-shattering or largely out-of-the-ordinary apartment building in terms of design.
But the secret ingredient of programming hasn't been lost on them, however. Creating regular events has been used for a healthy social diet at Bozzuto's Kensington in downtown Boston's Chinatown and Millennium Place in Downtown Crossing. Zinc does offer perks for residents planned by community director Nadia Serret. Most recently, Zinc bought dinner for any Zinc-er who visited the recently-opened Tahaza Hummus restaurant within a two-hour window. The neighborhood amenities do matter, and caffeine addicts will be pleased to know that Curio Coffee will be opening imminently nearby.
Considering the entire package, Zinc is a solid choice as a place to invent your future days.
· Website: ZINC Boston [Wood Partners]
· Cambridge's Retro-Chic Twenty|20 Awaits Its Neighborhood [Curbed Boston]
· Our Reviews archive [Curbed Boston]