This proposal for Fort Point Channel reimagines the old industrial waterway as a continuous, looping park, linking the Harborwalk to the South Bay Harbor Trail. With development happening at a rapid pace in surrounding neighborhoods, and with the South Station expansion in planning stages, Fort Point Channel (comparable in scale to Boston’s primary green spaces) is set to become an increasingly important open space for the city, acting simultaneously as connection, threshold, and destination.
The Livable Streets Alliance’s Green Routes Initiative envisions an unbroken network of greenway corridors throughout Boston, and as part of a design charrette to propose ways of connecting difficult gaps, GLD took on this significant site. Various existing challenges discourage public engagement with the space: limited waterfront access in some areas, travel through building arcades that are unwelcoming or unclear as public ways, lack of clarity for pedestrians at vehicle-privileged intersections, and stairs that prevent ADA and bicycle travel.
The proposal arose out of a desire for cohesive connectivity throughout the channel, and a belief that by providing this, FPC could become not merely a collection of leftover spaces, but an exceptional place in the city.
There are three main site strategies. First: the extension of the ground plane over the water. This thickening of the edges expands the public realm, while offering a means to bypass stairs and building arcades that prevent wheelchairs and bicycles. Second: the introduction of a figure, an intentional shaping into three loops that allow specificity in programming across a vast and diverse site. The figure allows for wider zones that may be populated with gathering spaces, programmed outdoor areas for abutters, and boat docks, as well as thinner zones that may contain planting strips, pedestrian walkway, and cycle tracks. And this figure also helps in achieving the third site strategy: legibility. Through a cohesive material and landscape palette the public space is made clear. A lighting scheme of consistent, slender light beacons – striking a level datum above a varied ground plane – provides wayfinding and makes visual connections even as physical barriers at bridges and across the water remain.
Awards: Most Compelling Long Range Vision
Design Team: Cynthia Gunadi, Joel Lamere, Sam Ghantous, Dohyun Lee