Alumnus Robert White, (M.Arch '15), J. Meejin Yoon, Professor, Department Head, and Principal of Höweler + Yoon Architecture, and Alex Anmahian, Lecturer and Principal of Anmahian Winton Architects, are three of four winners of the Northern Avenue Bridge Ideas Competition organized by the City of Boston and the Boston Society of Architects.
The Northern Avenue Bridge has served pedestrians, cyclists, automobiles and freight trains since its opening in 1908. The bridge was closed to all traffic in December 2014 due to safety concerns; its continuous exposure to water caused severe corrosion of the steel structure. Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined with the Boston Society of Architects to organize a public competition and solicit ideas for the future of the Bridge. The competition called for proposals to enhance mobility, celebrate the bridge's history, and create a new destination in downtown Boston. "A public process that allows alternatives to be proposed and evaluated, and a commitment to superb design so that bold forms and engaging spaces can bring this corner of the city to life," said 2016 BSA President Tamara Roy, AIA. The Public Works Department will release an RFP for the design of the future bridge in the coming months.
Robert White's proposal offers the city an opportunity to preserve Boston’s history while improving circulation within the growing Fort Point Channel area. White sees the bridge as a living monument to the area and its industry; the proposal retains the bridge and creates a new destination for the city as an urban-biome. "The decay of Boston's historic infrastructure need not be hidden," remarks White. "Rather than rebuilding the old bridge to fulfill an old role, we focus on re-stabilizing and reusing the iconic central element in a new way."
Höweler + Yoon’s proposal, led by project designer Kyle Coburn (M.Arch ’12), replaces the aging landmark with an elevated civic space and community park where “+” marks the spot of the bridge’s iconic rotation. The new bridge is designed as place of exchange for various modes of transportation, users, and public programming. The design traces the shape and motion of the historic bridge; the splitting of the paths allows for both expedient thoroughfare and meandering paths to coexist. +(plus) Bridge provides a "new infrastructure for place making, harbor viewing, waterway crossing, and environmental awareness,” explain the designers.
Anmahian Winton’s proposal preserves and transforms the abandoned bridge into a functional artifact. Their proposal for the Northern Avenue Botanical Bridge seeks to reinstate pedestrian travel and reconnect downtown Boston with the South Boston Waterfront. The NABB’s “restored trellis-like structure and greenhouse shed provide a much needed haven for pedestrians and cyclists as they cross the harbor and create a new destination for residents and visitors that honors a Boston landmark in a purposeful, beautiful way,” explains Anmahian.
For more information on the competition, proposals and other winners, visit: NorthernAveBridge.org.