The Boston waterfront is characterized by an artificial border dominated by piers. Piers represent a structure built to enlarge the coast-line and make it usable by offering a structure which is resistant against tides and extreme weather. The design for the 100 Acres Master Plan uses the advantages of this structure and develops it further by creating a land pier – a so-called INVERTED PIER. It makes the site resistant to the predicted end-of-century Sea Level Rise accompanied by an increasing chronic and episodic coastal flooding.

The INVERTED PIER is positioned in the center of the site connecting the waterfront with the convention center in the south-east. It functions as backbone of the site by providing approx. 4000 parking spaces on 3-4 levels creating a walkable roof top landscape of 20-37 ft above ground (height of 30-47 ft NAVD88). The pier offers a common ground designed as multifunctional landscape with recreation areas, community gardens, jogging routes and sports grounds as well as an area for open air screenings with cafes and restaurants.

The INVERTED PIER functions as center of the neighborhood where the inhabitants can park their cars, meet on the pier landscape and access their direct surrounding by foot. Thus forming the basis for a lively, active and communicative neighborhood.


  1. The excavation of the car park together with additional soil will be used for filling the site by about 2ft in average to ensure protection from the 100-year Storm Surge (9,89″NAVD88).
  2. In case of a storm surge higher than the 100-year Storm Surge (9,89″NAVD88) the INVERTED PIER keeps the neighborhood fully functional. With two elevated access points from outside (1. from elevated Summer Street via Melcher St. and Necco St., or 2. via S Boston Bypass RD) it constitutes the central hub from which the surrounding buildings can be reached via bridges.
  3. The buildings themselves are positioned within a three-dimensional shaped landscape forming islands with a minimum height of 8.5ft. The islands give additional stability to the buildings in case of storm surge as well as protection against flooding. They can be used as private gardens or open spaces for the neighborhood with e.g. childrenĀ“s playgrounds. Adding the 10ft of the raised base level (top1) the neighborhood is prepared for storm surges reaching elevation up to 18.5ft.

To mitigate adverse building impact on the environment the roofs are covered with solar heat panels as well as photovoltaic panels. To raise the efficiency of the panels the roofs are inclined and positioned in an optimum angle to face the sun both horizontally and vertically.
Between the landscape islands the surface water of the surrounding buildings is collected in artificial troughs. After heavy rains the rainwater will be held in the troughs until the water system regains enough capacity. Water gets enjoyable and is experienced as integral part of infrastructure.

The design of the water front with seating landscapes, a partly cantilevering promenade with a view as well as a swimming structure in extension of the INVERTED PIER makes the water front to be experienced. Due to projections and recesses inlets are created to encourage sea life.
The INVERTED PIER master plan aims to create synergies between a three-dimensional landscape and buildings which generates individual and adaptable solutions with a spatial and functional added value.

Company Name
ac.ka – architecture / Architectural office

Team Member(s)
Achim Kaufer / Architect / Concept and design of master plan
Grischa Fischer / Architect / Visualisation