Modern coastal urban life is about proximity and also disconnection from the water. Though water abounds us, we are not always able to sense nor touch it. Our strategy reframes this dichotomy of life in the city and our separateness to water by reconnecting the sounds and smells of the ocean, the tide’s rises, and the plants which thrive along the shoreline to become present throughout this new landscape, and for water to become a unified element of urban life.
All three sites are considered, with the design focusing particularly on Fort Point Channel as the core which connects both the Prince Spaghetti Building and Morrissey Boulevard. This proposal has the capacity to handle a substantial inflow of water, therefore reducing the impact of storm surges here, as well as on the other two sites. Via the water bodies, or bowls, that make up the new ecological landscape, the district is able to take up a greater volume of water from sea-level rise over the next 100 years and beyond. It can also reduce energy use with lower ambient air temperatures occurring over the cooler site and near the existing harbor.
The proposal retains several significant elements from the 100 Acre Master Plan. The Post Office Building and Gillette Company Headquarters will be kept, along with parking for each facility. Vehicular routes to both A Street and Haul Road are also maintained to connect to these existing uses. The remaining 35 acres of existing parking are given over to this blue-green environment with generous promenades for walking, biking and recreational programs, and to instigating renewed experiences with water.
Several historic buildings currently exist at the northwest corner of the site. These buildings will remain, and will continue to be the heart of an established, thriving cultural district. As the tide continues to rise, these buildings will stay in place, yet they will need to adapt in order to coexist with water. By 2050 the proposed high tide level will submerge the first floor of these buildings, and so these occupants will be moved to the northeast corner of the site. In order to mitigate this relocation and to additionally meet occupancy levels planned by the Master Plan, the site is envisioned for residential and mixed-use with a new building to anchor the development and serve as an architectural Landmark Tower.
These adaptations will allow residences and commerce to remain a part of the neighborhood, while safely transferring them to higher ground. By 2100, much of these historic buildings will likely be underwater; our proposal suggests that what remains of these buildings become sculptural elements that are integral to this model landscape and which will be relics of Boston’s history of living with water.
Boston Architectural College
• Maria Bellalta, Dean and Faculty; landscape architect; design lead and project manager
• Aidan Ackerman, Faculty, Design Media; landscape architect; graphics, modeling, and team supervision
• Heather Heimarck, Faculty, registered landscape architect; design, research and team supervision
• Anahita Kianous, Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate; design and hydrology calculations, plans, 3D renderings
• Jessica Alpert, Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate; design, research, diagramming, collage and final illustrations
• Sophie Bignet, Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate; design, mapping and graphic illustrations
• Jonathan Cave, Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate; design, existing conditions research, building program and calculations, sections
• Paul Cote, Faculty; GIS consultant and database provider
• Robert Ogle, Director and Faculty, Historic Preservation