Boston Wharf Parks

Civitas formed a team of Moshe Safdie Partners and Jean Paul Viguier Architecs to become finalists for the Boston Wharf Parks, now known as the Rose Kennedy Memorial Greenway on the lid of the Boston Big Dig. The site, roughly one half mile long, sits in the gap that was created when the former Central Artery Expressway was built through the city in the early 60’s. Almost no new development had proceeded since the Artery was built due to the noise, air quality and congestion that ensued. In many cases the truncated sides of buildings still remained, unused and unfinished 50 years later.

The team recognized that the scar created by the Artery needed to be healed – but not just by green space, but by new development of end-cap buildings facing the proposed greenway and providing new retail, entertainment, housing and offices to face and activate the park system. The proposal suggests that both public realm and private development must dually catalyze the rebirth of this large section of downtown.

The design proposal is intentionally provocative, replacing the normative idea that the space should be green with the idea that the space should be water. In summer, water for rental of canoes, kayaks and paddleboats, and in winter, ice skating. This would lead to a year round activation of both the public realm and the new buildings, leading to economic and social innovation to reunite the corridor.

Client: Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority
Partners: Moshe Safdie Partners, Jean Paul Viguier Architects
Completed: 2006
Budget: Not established
Location: Boston, MA