Fort Point provides multiple opportunities to create a sustainable and resilient neighborhood in the Boston area. Being located in a flood zone it is susceptible to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. With a predicted sea level rise of five feet and frequent storm surges and “wicked” high tides amounting to eighteen­ and ­a­ half feet it is impossible not to account for sea level rise in design and construction.

To come to terms with the inevitable consequences of climate change and formulate methods to cope as individuals, households, communities, and regions; to go beyond our efforts to mitigate the problem and also find ways to adapt, through designing for resilience, so that we can maintain livable conditions in the event of natural or man­made disasters and prolonged disruptions of basic utility services.

All new buildings in the Fort Point LWW development are to be designed from an “upside-­down” approach, where the building utilities and infrastructure are located in upper levels of the building or on the roof; the lowest floor of the building (basement or ground floor) will be raised above a selected design high flood elevation; key equipment and people floors are on higher levels.

  1. All lowest floors are to be elevated to a minimum two feet above the design flood elevation.
  2. Support the building on a foundation designed and constructed to resist all anticipated flood loads, in combination with other anticipated loads.
  3. Construct the building with flood damage resistant materials below the design flood elevation.
  4. Incorporate flood openings in walls forming an enclosure below the design floor elevation, to allow the automatic equalization of flood levels.
  5. Elevate all new buildings on piles or columns, keeping the area below the design flood elevation free of obstructions that could transfer flood loads to the elevated building, and use breakaway construction for any non­structural building elements.

All existing buildings in the Fort Point LWW development will be renovated to comply, wherever feasible, with the above criteria.

Other key elements in our design include the use of green roofs/roof gardens, a retention pond, greenway, solar skins, permeable paving, and a stormwater tunnel system integrated with main roadways.

Green roofs and gardens will provide insulation for the buildings, helping to regulate temperature year round and aid in the reduction of heat island effect. They will support microclimates and biodiversity, which are vital for survival. Roof gardens will become a local food source for the community.

A retention pond will be located at the lowest point of Fort Point. This will help improve water quality, manage stormwater, and reduce erosion.

Solar skins will allow buildings to produce energy from all angles, taking advantage of the sun’s energy. This will reduce the need for fossil fuel energy and, in turn, reduce carbon emissions while enhancing quality of life.

The stormwater tunnel system will store and discharge stormwater much like a detention pond does. By being under the major roadways, it will not obstruct daily activities or buildings. It will also work with the ground floors of buildings to help flush out water from the site. A dry river in greenway will act as a drainage swale to divert water to the underground stormwater tunnel system.

Integrating these elements into Fort Point will make it more sustainable and resilient in the eyes of climate change. They will reduce stormwater damage, erosion, emissions, and improve residents’ health, wellbeing and comfort so that we may adapt to a future of living with water.

Company Name
Boston Architectural College

Team Member(s)
Donald R. Ambrosio, Architectural Designer/CA, Boston Architectural College MDS Masters of Design in Sustainable Design Degree Candidate 2015/Site Design, 3D graphics, energy research
Helaina Balcanoff, Boston Architectural College MDS Masters of Design in Sustainable Design Degree Candidate 2015/Site Design, Site Rendering, sustainable design research