Lock City

Project Description

Critic

Bimal Mendis

Seizing the Olympics and flood projection as an opportunity, Boston is understood as a continuous manipulation of topography and bathymetry. By managing the gradient between land and water through the system of locks, the project welcomes water as a positive force that makes dynamic public recreation zones, leverages real estate and brings to the fore the legacy of Boston’s relationship to water. Like most of Boston, the site itself is engineered from a mudscape to a serrated hard edge. The project continues the historical trajectory of engineering the water’s edge and maximizing water-frontage.

The project consists of two gestures. The first is a strategic canal along 1st Street bounded by a lock system that manages water level. The proposed Olympic Village is a node along this internalized waterfront. It is a “caisson” in which orchestrated water levels activate different recreational activity.

The second move creates green corridors extending from the new canal to the piers of Seaport District. These corridors break down the scale of the district into discrete islands, and with controlled flooding, increase the waterfront and amplify their individual characters by concentrating development.