The firms of Professor J. Meejin Yoon, head of the Department of Archictecture, and visiting MIT faculty member Alex Anmahian are among the winners in the Northern Avenue Bridge Ideas Competition, sponsored 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. But long-term exposure to salt water and air led to corrosion of the steel structure, and the bridge was recently closed to traffic in light of safety concerns.
The competition sought ideas for a new Northern Avenue Bridge, “one that enhances our mobility, celebrates our history, and creates a destination for the next 100 years,” wrote the competition organizers.
The Höweler + Yoon proposal, +(plus) Bridge, led by project designer Kyle Coburn MArch ’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. The scheme provides a “new infrastructure for place making, harbor viewing, waterway crossing, and environmental awareness,” said the designers.
Anmahian Winton Architects’ submission, Northern Avenue Botanical Bridge (NABB), preserves and transforms the abandoned bridge into a functional artifact. The proposal 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,” said Anmahian.
The jury for the Northern Avenue competition included two MIT alumni: Gregory Galer PhD ’02 is executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance; and Jennifer Mecca SM ’93 is president of the Fort Point Arts Community.
For more information on the competition, proposals, and other winners, see NorthernAveBridge.org.