Just this week Boston Global Investors (BGI) and Sasaki presented the design for a new Seaport tower to the Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC). The design was well received by the BCDC board and the project will next go into Design Committee.
At this initial presentation, the BCDC praised the design for its uncommon form for both the Seaport and greater Boston. The inherent geometry and structure of the building are a distinct departure from box and podium tower design more typical of the neighborhood. The BCDC also appreciated the elevation of the ground plane, which lifts the building up to allow for public spaces to permeate in and around the base of the building.
With design development well underway, the tower is slated to begin construction in late 2020.
Excerpts from the presentation materials:
The Seaport neighborhood is a dynamic mix of programs and styles, constantly evolving and expanding, forging a new language for the City of Boston, its residents, and its visitors. The design for 401 Congress Street will work within the existing context to complement the established urban fabric, while also seeking to make a statement as a new iconic presence in the Seaport. Its unique location in the neighborhood nestles the design amongst numerous modern midrises already constructed and in progress, while still capitalizing on the long vistas toward the site, created by the view corridors of the streets, to stand out as a project that pushes the Seaport into the next generation of design.
A robust and generous public realm is crucial to the success of this project. The exterior landscaping greets pedestrians outside the building, beginning their interaction with 401 Congress Street on a lush note. The visitor is then drawn into the Great Hall, which connects Congress Street to World Trade Center Avenue via a grand, interior staircase, pulling the visitor around a variety of food service retail options and up around the core to the office lobby at level two.
Paired with the adjacent accessible route, both indoor, protected connections are open 24/7, affording easy passage during late night hours or inclement weather.
At level two, the public realm experience continues out to the new plaza attached to World Trade Center Avenue, with a more pedestrian-oriented design.
401 Congress Street creates a vegetative oasis in the middle of a modern urban fabric. The interaction of the pedestrian with the landscape is paramount to instilling a feeling of respite and reprieve along an otherwise mostly hardscaped environment. Sections of the journey through the landscape bring the visitor closer to the roof line, with opportunities for overlooks while others use plantings to push the occupiable spaces away from the project’s edge and into more protected and nestled-in areas.