Designing a better environment for people to live, work, and enjoy
Gensler was invited to participate in an international competition for the One Congress Street mixed-use project in downtown Boston. The project will replace the Government Center parking structure that is a bulky mass located between the Bulfinch Triangle and Downtown Boston. The existing parking structure spans over Congress Street, dividing the two districts visually and spatially, interrupting the urban fabric of the City. The project aims to demolish the garage, replace the lost parking below grade, and add 3.3 million sq ft of mixed-use development above to serve as the northern anchor of the new Rose Kennedy Greenway.
The scope and breadth of the One Congress Street project represents an opportunity to demand a better environment for people to live, work, and enjoy. There exists now, in this moment, an opportunity to set a new benchmark for mixed-use development that is a true exemplar of sustainability in the broadest sense – environmental, social, and economic.
Beyond the typical pursuits of high-rise design, including maximising views, day-lighting, integrated systems and open plan/column-free arrangements, the building’s formal arrangement is driven by the pursuit to achieve the maximum number of floors within the height restriction. To achieve this goal, the project utilises a structural solution that minimises the floor depth whilst providing the character and quality of a first class high-rise. A dual system, comprised of a reinforced concrete shear core connected by outriggers to an exo-skeleton dia-grid structure, resists lateral forces and visually integrates into the overall façade solution. The redundancy of the exoskeleton structure and mass of the concrete core furthermore act as improved security/terrorist protection features.
A centralised, district cogeneration and cooling system will efficiently produce electricity, cooling and heat for the whole development. The system will form an integral part of a development-wide energy loop that will also utilise ground source heating and cooling. The office floor plate design will combine displacement ventilation with chilled ceilings, providing increased air quality and effective peak cooling. Air side economisers will enable the building to benefit from the long 'free running' period that the local Boston climate generates.
A dynamic façade design will optimize solar gain to reduce mechanical heating and cooling loads, as well as increase day lighting levels to reduce artificial lighting. The façades will respond to the individual building orientations, integrating double facades on the south facing elevations and single facades on the north facing elevations.