Shifting Boston

Laura
Thursday 21 Jan 2010

Boston's ideas competition leaves lasting impression on the city's redevelopment authority

The SHIFTboston competition calls on all architects, artists, landscape architects, urban designers and engineers to submit their most provocative visions for the City of Boston. The Boston Arcology (BOA) proposal was entered into the competition by a team from Ahearn Schopfer, led by Kevin Schopfer, in collaboration with Tangram 3DS. The Boston Arcology has the capability of housing 15,000 people distributed in hotels, offices, retail, museums, condominiums, and a new city hall.

Because of its scale, BOA is positioned perpendicular to the waterfront, preserving view corridors and general development massing. Sky gardens are inserted into the three main towers every 30 floors. These sky gardens provide landscaped glass enclosed atria. Vertical commuting within BOA will be supported by a series of local and express transfer floors.

BOA is geared to be an all pedestrian environment. Accordingly, only select horizontally based areas will be fitted with moving walkways and/or electric train carriers. BOA will eliminate the need for cars within the urban structure to create a carbon neutral entity. Some of these elements are secured wind turbines, fresh water recovery and storage systems, passive glazing system, sky garden heating/cooling vents, gray water treatment, solar array banding panels, and harbour based water turbines. The foundation of BOA is a series of poured concrete cells, which are combined to form a buoyant platform. The grid of these cells serves as the foundation for the rigid steel.

Sapir Ng and Andrzej Zarzycki were awarded 1st prize for their design which proposed the transformation of part of North America’s oldest subway system into an interactive social environment. The Tremont Underground Theatre Space (TUTS) concept envisaged turning the Tremont Street subway tunnels into an interactive cultural environment, comprising interactive art galleries, an underground cinema, an underground theatre, a theatre trolley and a trolley museum and cafe.

Kairos Shen, Chief Planner, Boston Redevelopment Authority said: “Compared to what I do on a daily basis and seeing the normative architecture that we have, this is really truly wonderful. I’d like to figure out a way that in city government and in the development community we can figure out what are the kernels of brilliant ideas and be able to apply them.”

Laura Paton
Editorial

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Architecture
United States

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