Harvard Graduate School of Design students, alumni, and professors offered visionary, winning designs in the Boston Living with Water competition, which announced finalists on Monday, June 8 with a reception at Boston Society of Architects (BSA) headquarters, BSA Space.
GSD alums compose two of the three finalist teams, as well as the team awarded an honorable mention.
Launched last October, the open, international competition called for design solutions that “envision a beautiful, vibrant, and resilient Boston that is prepared for end-of-the-century climate conditions and rising sea levels.”
The competition targeted three Boston sites anticipated to be vulnerable to sea-level rise over the next century: at building level, the Prince Building in Boston’s North End; at neighborhood level, the 100 Acres area of Boston’s waterfront Fort Point neighborhood; and at infrastructure level, Morrissey Boulevard. Teams were invited to address one, two, or all three of the sites.
“Although the 50 participating teams took different approaches to designing for climate change, all the submissions treated the rising sea level as a positive design force in Boston’s built environment,” ArchDaily wrote after semifinalists were named in March.
Among nine semifinalists—three teams for each of the three sites—the jury chose one finalist team per site and one overall honorable mention. Boston mayor Marty Walsh announced results at the June 8 ceremony.
“Competition ideas and strategies are already informing Boston’s future,” Walsh said. “I congratulate all of the winners on their hard-earned achievements, and look forward to seeing what the future has in store for these designs.”
The three finalists now move on to compete for a grand prize funded by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Barr Foundation.
As noted in the awards announcement, “rather than trying to prevent seawater from entering the city, this proposal welcomes the water and repurposes the outer streetscapes to a new urban seashore.”
In the neighborhood category, a team from Architerra won with “ReDeBOSTON 2100,” led by Daniel Bernstein (MArch ’79) and including Ellen Watts (also MArch ’79). Their design proposes raising the entire base and infrastructure of Fort Point’s 100 Acres by about 12 feet.
“We must show how cities of the future can not only survive but also thrive with water,” Watts said. “Bold planning, design, technology and development ideas previously unimagined are required.”
An overall honorable mention was given to NBBJ-led project “Resilient Linkages,” which confronts flooding concerns in Fort Point with an elevated street grid and a call for developers to integrate supportive infrastructure into all new projects in the area.
The “Resilient Linkages” team includes NBBJ’s Alan Mountjoy (MAUD ’96), who led the project; Alex Krieger (MCUPD ’77), professor in practice of urban design at the GSD; Brandon Cuffy (MArch ’13); Jim Gresalfi (MAUD ’99); Kelly Lynema (MUP ’13); Tom Sieniewicz (MArch ‘85); and Patrick Tedesco (MAUD ‘98).
Additionally, one team comprising current GSD students and 2015 grads reached semifinalist status with project “No Building is an Island.” The team was led by Jon Springfield (MUP ’15) and included Jonathan Goldman (MUP ’15), Dave Hampton (MDes ’16), Stephanie Hsia (MLA ’15), Jared Katseff (MUP ’15), Xinhui Li (MLA ’16), Ho-Ting Liu (MLA ’17), Nupoor Monani (MAUD ‘15), Thaddeus Pawlowski (LF ’15), Kira Sargent (MLA ’17), Jeenal Sawla (MUP ’15), Jon Springfield (MUP ’15), Karno Widjaja (MArch ’16), and Lindsay Woodson (MUP ’16).
“The competition was a great opportunity to work across disciplines on one of the most dire issues facing cities today,” Goldman said.
Boston Living with Water is a partnership among the City of Boston, the Boston Harbor Association, the Boston Society of Architects, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Winners’ work and exhibition content will be on display in BSA Space throughout June.