GGN | North End Parks

North End Parks.indd

Title: Between Arterials and Freway Ramps: design for daily life

Project: North End Parks, Boston, MA

Firm: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

Summary: The North End Parks are designed as human-scaled, useful spaces that both defy and define their immediate surroundings – a series of wide surface arterials and noisy freeway ramps. Part of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the Parks are built as an intensive green roof over the tunnel of I-93, a portion of Boston’s “Big Dig” project.

The landform of the Parks creates a positive experience of a “crossing ground” from the initial challenge of its traffic-isolated location. The “home to city” thresholds of the crossing ground include a canal-like water scrim, a water-side “porch,” a series of central “yards,” and locally themed “Home Gardens.” Roads and walkways across these thresholds are subtly designed as bridges, to integrate the social and civic qualities of the site’s long history as a meeting point and a landmark place of boundary, bridges, and shared passage.