Charlesview Residences, for The Community Builders

A groundbreaking was held the 16th of May at the site of what will be a new 22-building neighborhood called The Charlesview Residences, comprising 240 mixed-income rental units, 100 home ownership units (affordable and market rate), 14,000 square feet of retail ground floor, community spaces, and parks.

I was commissioned by Jeff Beam, of The Community Builders, to do a small suite of four sketchy renderings in order to provide the press and attendees with an atmospheric impression of the overall project as proposed.

Charlesview at Brighton Mills, Allston-Brighton

An Aerial View of the Project, middle ground. Digital, 11x17 and 300dpi

Aerial Detail of Charlesview

A detail from the Aerial, about twice full-size

Another Detail of the Aerial Sketch, zoomed in to about three times full size

The project had been in development by the non-profit development corporation The Community Builders for the past eight years or so, with CBT/Childs Bertman Tseckares Inc., of Boston, as the architect.

A view South Down Antwerp Street

The View South Down Antwerp Street; digital 11x17, 300dpi

Detail, at about Full Size, showing a portion of the Josephine Fiorentino Community Center, on the Eastern Side of Antwerp Street

Detail from Center, with a small hint of the Home Owenership Housing and the Park, Beyond

Sidewalk, West side of Antwerp Street

This substantial development will include the relocation of residents from the original Charlesview residential complex, built over 40 years ago on a five acre parcel just a few blocks away up Western Avenue.  Harvard University is providing the parcel for this project, almost twice the land area of the existing complex, in exchange for the smaller parcel where the original complex is currently located.  Harvard will also be providing a substantial  payment to cover the relocation costs of the residents, who are represented by the neighborhood organization Charlesview Inc.

Park at Antwerp Street, Charlesview at Brighton Mills, Residences

A half-acre Park will be created on Antwerp Street, between the taller Multi-Family Residences along Western Avenue and the smaller-scaled Ownership Housing to the South

A Detail of the Park Sketch, with a portion of a Community Center, beyond

Along the Park, a mix of Black-eyed Susans, flowering trees, and a large specimen Copper Beech

The project is expected to create more than 600 union construction jobs, and is partially financed by the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, along with financing by MassHousing, private debt, and tax credits.

View across Telford Street, at the intersection of Western Avenue, looking west.

Enlarged Detail of same

To visit the Project Page on The Community Builder’s Website, click here: >> The Charlesview Residences


© Jeff Stikeman and jeff stikeman architectural art, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jeff Stikeman and jeff stikeman architectural art with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Filed under Commissioned Work

7 responses to “Charlesview Residences, for The Community Builders

  1. George

    That’s a great analogy. Thanks so much Jeff.

  2. George

    Hi Jeff,
    It’s been awhile since I checked in to your blog. Again, remarkable technique and execution. I’m truly puzzled how you can kick out so many illustrations in such a short time, but I guess it’s all about developing a system that streamlines some of the more mundane processes.
    I’m curious about the sizing of your drawings. To you typically do your works half size at 300dpi? My reason for asking is that I’ve volunteered to do an aerial illustration for our local parks and rec department that shows all their facilities in one campus. Normally, as when in school, I would work 24×36 at 100 dpi, but they need the finished product to be 7’x 15′ and affixed to a wall in their lobby! Using the dimensions you outlined above, does that mean I’d have to work at 84″x180″ at 150 dpi? That seems like a big file to work on in photoshop….or would working in 42″x90″ at 300dpi make a smoother process? I hope you don’t mind the newbie questions…thank you and keep up the good work. Your blog and site are pretty inspiring to my friends and I.


    • Hi George.
      Thanks for your comments.
      I sometimes get requests from marketing people who want me to send a file that will be printed on a construction fence, or large sign, and they want the file to be full size AND 300dpi. That’s crazy.

      A billboard is about 15-25dpi. That’s it. It looks clear because, at a distance, it occupies about the same area in your field of vision as an 8-1/2×11 sheet of paper held at arm’s length. If your 8-1/2×11 image was printed at 300 dpi, and the billboard was 8′-6″x11′ at 25dpi,they’d each represent the same number of pixels falling on your retina.

      Still, sometimes people want to get up close. I find that printing enlargments up to 75 dpi works absolutely fine for hand-drawn (paint, pencil) renderings. Which means that if you were doing an image by hand, and your client wanted to print it 7’x15′, you could do an image that was 300dpi (my normal working resolution), and it would need to be 21″x45″. Still somewhat large, but certainly not 300 dpi AND 7×15 feet.

      I did a rendering, an aerial, that was pretty large. It was at 400dpi, which allowed me some zooming, but also kept it from being to large physically. I like to stay close to 11×17, max 18×24. At 400dpi in the original, your image would be 15×33.

      To take things further… I would try a test printing the final large version at 50 dpi. Why? well, my question is, is the work intended to be seen at a distance? …or do they really want to be able to walk up to it and look at two square inches and see individual blades of grass in your sketch? If the desire is to have a large scale sketch fill the wall, then I’m pretty sure 50 dpi will be more than enough for viewing at the intended large-scale distance, and still good enough for those who walk up and take a closer look. It would also mean that your sketch, though printed at 7×15 feet (50dpi) could be executed at 10-1/2″ x 22″, 400dpi.

      When all else fails, and you are met with a person who refuses anything less than a massively ridiculous file, do what we ALL do: render it at the resolution that works for you, then resize it in photoshop. hahaha It won’t add detail, but it will quiet those who simply have a need for a massively too-large file. Just don’t tell them. Let them think you rendered it at 7’x15′, and 300 dpi.

      • George

        Whew. Your comments really make me feel more at ease. Thanks for taking the time to lend your thoughts on the matter. I think I’ll go forward with a quarter size working document, then upsize the delivered file.
        Thanks again!

      • I thought of a better example, to illustrate my point. Think of the best HDTV picture you have ever seen. Absolutely unbelievably clear, right?
        Let’s say you have a 42″ HDTV, sit back and watch it at the proper distance. Beautifully clear.
        Now, take your arms and hold them out, one hand on each side of the picture, as wide as the screen. Guess what? Your hands are only as far apart as a piece of 8-1/2×11 paper (11″). That’s it.
        What’s more, that big beautiful 42 inch screen is only 1080 pixels wide. That’s it. It’s only about 30 dpi. The signal is actually fairly low resolution (by print standards). Yet that the picture is as clear as if those 1080 pixels were printed on that 11 inch wide piece of paper in front of you at arm’s length, or, roughly 100 pixels per inch printed. It’s the same exact pixel width, and looks just as clear, as long as you are standing the proper distance. Get up to that TV and you’ll see the pixels. But no one does that. And no one expects to find that extra detail when we get up close to the TV. Same for your painting. No one should expect to be able to infinitely keep zooming in and finding detail in your illustration.
        Good luck.

  3. Anonymous

    Hey Jeff!
    really love your architectural illustrations. it always conveys the poetic atmospheric quality of a place, or i should say, the genius loci of design was actually spoken by your architectural artwork! 😉
    **just to let you know – your drawings are one of the main source im taking as best examples to learn from (in todays architectural rendering).

    may i know how long does it take you to complete this small suit of 4 renderings? and what is the size of it?

    keep it up with you inspiring artworks! and thx for sharing! 😉

    – from a 2nd year degree architectural student, who aims to become an architectural illustrator soon (before becoming a registered architect).

    • Hi, and thanks.

      I am on vacation for July and August, sorry to not be getting back to you very quickly.

      A suite of four color renderings somewhat loose (less formal) like those in the Charlesview suite, can be done in a week if need be. They were 300 dpi, at 11×17 (printed at 150 dpi, 22×34). But these were done working closely with the developer, and so we went thru a number of iterations regarding camera angles, clarifying the design of the building, discussing materials and colors, etc. So, if the process took maybe two weeks in all, the last five days or so may have been the real ‘paint’ work. I can say that sometimes the length of time required expands to fit the schedule. Meaning, if i only had one image to do, and it needed to be done tomorrow, there’d be no real problem. It is what it is. But if we had a week to do it, we’d likely use the whole week also. The nature of the beast I guess. Thanks for weighing in, and for your comments
      Jeff Stikeman

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