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A flexible, vibrant public hub for arts, events, and play, that helps open up Boston's Seaport neighborhood as an increasingly inclusive and lively place

The Lawn on D

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
Boston, MA
2.7 acres
Utile, Inc., HR&A Advisors
©Christian Phillips Photography
Landscape Architecture
Completed Summer 2014
American Society of Landscape Architects, Honor Award for General Design
International Downtown Association, Downtown Merit Award for Public Space
American Institute of Architects, National Small Project Award
Improper Bostonian, Boston’s Best 2015 Best New Addition in Arts & Entertainment
Boston Society of Landscape Architects, Honor Award – General Design

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), in partnership with a Sasaki-led design team (including HR&A Advisors and Utile), conceived of the Lawn on D—a flexible, vibrant, and temporary urban space—to be an early arrival on D Street, setting the tone for civic impact and expressing the ambitions of a new district.

This new district, anchored by the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), occupies a critical mid-point between South Boston, the Innovation District and Liberty Wharf, and the Fort Point and Channel Center neighborhoods. This new district aspires to be interactive, flexible, technologically advanced, inspired by art and events, and inclusive of many constituents (residents, workers, conventioneers, tourists). The Lawn on D demonstrates and pilots these ambitions, testing spatial configurations and programming that will eventually be deployed to a future event space that will become the heart and focus of the new district along D Street.

The Lawn on D is conceived as a platform for innovation and an armature for infinite programming—packing multiple agendas and possibilities into 2.7 acres with skillful design and strong vision. It was designed for cost-effective implementation, flexibility, and ease of transformation.

Composed of two parts—the plaza and the lawn—The Lawn on D is a hub of activity for community events. The plaza’s paths blaze trails from D Street to the side entrance of the BCEC, its signature lights describe a right-sized space for gatherings, and its bright, playful, movable furniture invites visitors to make the space their own. The lawn at The Lawn on D—sited where four feet of urban fill used to block views and preclude access—now provides a gracious forecourt to the BCEC along D Street and hosts a range of shorter-term art installations and projects.

The Lawn on D grew out of a larger urban design and planning collaboration with the MCCA. The MCCA is planning a major expansion of the BCEC, which will require additional hotel rooms, parking garages, supporting retail, and, critically, a vision and identity for D Street. Sasaki and Utile, Inc. led the urban design team that laid out a long-term vision for D Street, created design guidelines for short-term projects along D Street, and engaged the surrounding community.

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