Architecture and Public Spaces over the Boston Artery

The Boston Central Artery, which was opened in 1959, and is being currently demolished and substituted by a tunnel, provides an outstanding opportunity not only to rationalize a main traffic road, but also to reconsider the relationship between the city and its waterfront.If the elevated structure became a barrier between the Wharf District and the water, the key point is to analyze whether this 27 acre urban void should become a limit or an urban continuum. Epidermal treatments of the void, such as an inspired design of public space, cannot guarantee per se the complexity a new city-water relationship implies. Instead, the evaluation of the degree of built density and the inclusion of new programs seem vital to define a new urban structure with the desired morphological and functional qualities. The new architectures the students are expected to propose and develop should provide the maximum possible transverse permeability, incorporating the public spaces resulting from the intervention on the CA to the existing waterfront. Rather than as an analysis of urban planning, we conceive this exercise as an architectural project in which the proposals meet the functional requirements while managing to define a new waterfront.The intervention extends between the Wharf District and the water; and between Quincy Market and Dewey Square. The proposed buildings will be a result of the new programs and the substitution of those currently existing, if such a substitution happens. The ratio between built area and public spaces is 30-70%. The total built area for the project will be the addition of the existing one plus m2sq.feet. Besides the necessary urban spaces (squares, gardens, streets . . . ), any type of land use that guarantees a sufficient degree of urban complexity will be accepted. These might include hotels, apartment and office buildings, as well as cultural, sport, or leisure facilities.At the beginning of the course, students will analyze the area as a whole and the existing buildings (which can be preserved or demolished), in order to define the guidelines for the individual projects to be developed during the rest of the course. Each student will work on a transverse strip of the Artery (between streets prolonging those of the Wharf District), taking into account the presence of the new CA tunnel and its structural and geometric conditions.At the end of the course all the individual projects will be put together, like a puzzle, to evaluate the qualities of every single one as well as its contribution to the image of the Waterfront.The working scale is 1:500 for side documentation and the general model of the area. A scale of 1:200 and 1:100 will be used for the plans and volumetric aspects of the building. The models for the individual project will be at a scale of 1:200.