Northern Avenue Bridge, Horizontal Scheme

Posted on June 14th, 2016 by Akash Godbole

Posted under: Competitions

Since 1908 the Northern Avenue Bridge has been heavily used by the Bostons public. Extensive corrosion of the original steel structure created the need for a replacement. The BSA together with the City of Boston and Mayor Walsh recently hosted an ideas competition to explore the future of the beloved bridge. The following is one of two ideas proposed by our office, this one taking the horizontal approach. A big thanks to our team Arthur Chang and Thomas Tait!


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Traditionally, bridges have served to connect remote areas, as conduit; here is an opportunity to create a bridge as destination: a new center that connects the historic Boston Downtown with South Boston.  We reconnect the Greenway with the Seaport district for pedestrian and bicycle access. It is not merely a path, it is itself a new locus, with open space, and programs for all ages. With variegated green areas catering to different needs, an elevated vantage point that overlooks the harbor, a restaurant and cafe on its lower deck, the New Northern Ave Bridge becomes a place that draws, connects, and projects further into Seaport District.

Improving on the original bridge, boats and other water-born vehicles can pass underneath thanks to its generous arching from bank to bank. While the northwest tip of the distorted quadrant touches the Seaport Boulevard Bridge allowing pedestrian crossover, the southeast tip points upwards in an elegant gesture – a peak that once climbed allows an overlook over the waterfront, an urban mountain top everyone will want to scale.

The bridge surface shears and creates an opening in its center that extends out into the water in the bay. A cafe and restaurant, right at the water, make for an exclusive location for eating out or getting a drink. A water station serving small boats, kayaks and other small transport vehicles awaits whoever is ready to cut into the water.

The bridge surface is divided into 4 distinct areas. An open meadow for frisbee throwers, a playground for children, a bosque around a large weeping willow with seats for reading and a large seating landscape facing downtown for relaxing while looking at the skyline.

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