2012 Tucker Design Award for Boston’s North End Parks
The 2012 Tucker Design Award, given biennially to honor work that demonstrates “excellence in concept, design, construction and use of natural stone,” was given to both Seattle’s Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) and Boston’s Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge (CSS) for their work on Boston’s North End Parks.
Part of the multi-billion dollar “Big Dig” project that altered traffic patterns through central Boston, including moving Interstate 93 underground, the 3-acre North End Parks are built on top of the Interstate 93 tunnel roof. The parks link the civic spaces of Quincy Market and Government Center with Boston’s oldest neighborhood, providing a relaxing, green counterpoint to the frequently paved-over spaces of Boston’s central core. Boston’s historic Freedom Trail weaves through the park, providing a more pleasant experience than the trail’s former setting in the shadow of the now-undergrounded elevated freeway.
According to GGN’s website, “The Parks are designed as a system of varied spaces that serve the finely-scaled residential neighborhood, while forming together as one, a unified threshold piece at a grander civic scale. In the “Home Crossing” design, a series of zones are crossed as one moves from City (Government Center) to Home (North End). At the entry to Home, a “front porch” and pergola are provided as a spatial extension of the lively streets and sidewalk activities within the neighborhood.”
The pergola and ‘front porch’ provide a defined space that overlooks the lawn and a shallow water ‘canal’ with water jets; the canal provides visual and auditory interest, and also serves as an enjoyable and cool place for children to play.
According to Shannon Nichol of GGN, “we fell in love with the North End neighborhood while designing the Parks, and I like to think that this emotion came through in the careful detailing of the stone. Our interest in the beautiful layers of hand-crafted materials in the nearby streets influenced the stone details in the Parks. The colorful, passionate personalities in the neighborhood also inspired our selection of dramatic, marble-like granite and the overall design for social interactions at every scale.”
All images courtesy of GGN