Boston has always been a man-made city. From the first colonists, we’ve flattened the hills and filled in the harbor as the city grew. Today the Fort Point area reflects this long history. Our site is landfill on former tidal flats. During the Big Dig, the site included the Casting Basin, used to construct sections of the Mass Pike, which now tunnels below. To the north of the site, the streets and buildings function at multiple levels, with Summer Street a full floor above Congress and A Streets. Our concept builds on this history, to create a multi-level mixed-use neighborhood, fully artificial, but with natural and biomimetic elements.

The 100 Acres of the Fort Point District is envisioned to be a dynamic and vibrant mixed-use neighborhood with a variety of building types and uses, including market rate and affordable residential, office/retail, industrial, recreational and community-oriented spaces that accommodate existing and rising water levels, while being respectful of the existing September 2006 Master Plan. It will be a place where people want to be – not an area fortifying itself against a continually rising high tide.

Our basic concept raises the street grid in the 100 Acres to match the height of the existing Summer Street. Upper A Street connects directly with Summer Street and creates a new raised spine for the neighborhood. Buildings connect to the street grid at this level and all auto traffic occurs on the upper level. The lower level allows water to come and go, but also includes elements of food production, recreation and pedestrian access and circulation.

The Harborwalk is extended along the Fort Point Channel to create a verdant spine intersected with deep blue canals that are filled even during low tide. Water is interwoven with the cityscape through a series of new channels within the Fort Point Channel neighborhood – with our site hosting one of the main arteries of this intricate channel system. The integration of the waterways adds esthetic beauty to the landscaped pedestrian areas and acts as a symbol of the city’s efforts to embrace and adapt to the rising water rather than block its path. The channels are functional and provide a critical resource – a pathway and outlet for the high floodwaters and storm surges that could occur.

Paths and walkways elevated above changing water levels encourage people to stroll and bicycle through the natural landscape and marshlands. Near the South Station bridge is a canoe/kayak rental landing and Hubway bicycle station. Pedestrian bridges, walkways and stairs connect and provide accessibility between the upper building and street level with the ground level near the water. Local artists are periodically invited to submit additions to an outdoor sculpture park.

Some 350 years ago Boston dammed the Mill Pond (now the Bullfinch Triangle Area) and used hydropower to process grain and power rum distilleries. Today a 21st Century version of this simple technology is used to generate power for residents of the district. Oyster beds, sustainable aquaculture and hydroponic gardening provide jobs and produce food for the local neighborhood and restaurants. Transparent living laboratories for aquaculture showcase innovative developing technologies and techniques, like extracting horseshoe crab blood for pharmaceuticals and producing fishmeal substitutes and specialty seaweeds.

Sustainable building standards and zero net energy goals guide the development of the site and its residential and commercial buildings.

Company Name
The Green Engineer, Inc.

Team Member(s)
The Green Engineer, Inc. Sustainable Design Consultants
Chris Schaffner, PE, LEED Fellow – Engineer, Team Leader
Sarah Michelman, RA, LEED AP – Architect
Matt Smith, LEED AP – Designer, Graphics
Neetu Siddarth, LEED AP, BEMP – Designer, Graphics
Peter Levy – Designer, Graphics
Marie Nolan, LEED AP – Designer, Narrative Primary Author
Erin Nunnink, LEED AP – Engineer, Systems
Ryan Montoni, LEED AP – Designer
Carrie Havey, LEED AP – Landscape
Bradley Newkirk – Intern