Building Boston: A Chat with Tamara Roy of Stantec

Her nickname? "Mother of the micro-unit."

Welcome to Building Boston, where we chat with local developers, builders, architects, and change-makers about our city.

tamara roy

Photo courtesy of Stantec

Meet Tamara Roy. She’s a principal at Stantec, a global design firm that counts local projects like Pier 4, the Envoy Hotel, and One Charlestown.

My favorite building in Boston’s skyline is…the MassArt Treehouse Tower, at the risk of sounding self-promotional. It’s one of our recent projects. I find the design so optimistic, colorful, and refreshing. The Custom House tower is also a favorite of mine; it has elegant proportions and lovely stone work.

If there’s one thing I could change about Boston, it would be…to turn all the roads in the inner downtown core into pedestrian and bike ways with shuttles and linear parks. Time to embrace fitness and low carbon.

My nickname is…“the Mother of the micro-unit” for my work promoting compact living and advocating for a change in policy for the minimum size of residential units here in Boston. I’ve always been energized by innovative solutions to urban living, and micro-units provide a very realistic solution to providing affordable, livable housing options in our city.

I’m working on…designing the next-generation office space at the former Boston Globe site in Dorchester, which will incorporate 21st-century workspace, light manufacturing, co-working, and entrepreneurial incubator space. The design will support wellness with healthy food choices, fitness, and green roofs, too. I’m also focused on next-generation micro- and co-housing design for students and millennials around Boston and beyond, as well as teaching classes in innovative urban design and housing at MassArt.

In 15 years, I hope Boston will…be a much more welcoming and diverse business environment for women, people of color, people of non-binary gender, income levels, backgrounds, etc., so that priorities can shift toward projects that benefit everyone, not just a few.

To help ease the housing crisis, I’m…working on several projects to revitalize public housing in Charlestown and Jackson Square, experimenting with prefab housing, affecting micro-housing policy, and pushing for higher density in urban master plans to combat housing supply shortages in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, and Medford.

Honestly, I hate it when…our society focuses on today’s Twitter story and small fixes without envisioning big ideas. Leaders who can move us toward a positive future—one that is carbonless, equitable, and beautiful—are in short supply.

The BEAT at the former Boston Globe site / Image courtesy of Stantec