Creating Common Ground: Embedding Urban Fabric in Longwood’s Institutions

by Benjamin Scheerbarth (MUP ’14)

The Longwood Medical and Academic Area, an economically important agglomeration of 24 institutions on a 213-acres site in west Boston, anticipates strong growth. Although it attracts a large number of commuters, it is infrequently visited by, and offers little to, the sizable residential population encircling it. However, this urban centrality, and indeed the many similarities to downtown Boston, come with a responsibility. To address existing tensions and preempt their exacerbation, the public character of the medical and educational institutions should be increased. Thus, new developments need to advance accessibility to some of the existing, rich institutional assets. This proposal is two-fold: first, ground floors should be rethought as circulation and semi-public space within institutional buildings. Second, if slightly modified, the abutting Fens offers the open space requirements of a denser built form as well as presents itself as a connective tissue to the adjacent residential areas.

Instructors: Judith Grant Long, Kathy Spiegelman, Peter Park