Winning entry for the the Northern Avenue Bridge Competition in Boston, sponsored by the City of Boston and the Boston Society of Architects (BSA).
The +(plus) Bridge will connect two distinct and vibrant neighborhoods of Boston through a series of layered programming and outdoor spaces that act as both expedient thoroughfare and a meandering public path. +(plus) Bridge is designed as place of exchange where various modes of transportation, user type, and public programming coexist to form a dynamic interstitial neighborhood and a new urban destination.
Forming a “+” shape in the Fort Point Channel, the bridge is a dynamic structure that runs parallel to the open channel. One path of the “+” traces the shape and orientation of the historic Northern Avenue Bridge and joins with a new path to form a loop and connect opposing banks in a single gesture. The splitting of the “+” figure allows for different types of crossings: quick and direct connections over the southern path, and slower more meandering connections over the northern path.
Each path splits into a distinct ramp to maximize viewing options of the Fort Point Channel, Boston Harbor, and surrounding landmarks. The intersection of paths frames a central public amphitheater, which acts as a public meeting space, lookout zone, and leisure area. It will also be a place to sit and linger and observe the flurry of activity in Boston’s most active waterway. These paths simultaneously provide visitors with a lush grove and hardscaped pier that span on the bridge’s East-West axis. A soft lawn and public plaza both extend North from the Congress Street Bridge and terminate into a lookout-point facing the Historic Boston Harbor. Diverse programming opportunities on each path promotes yearlong activity and encourages people to spend time on +(plus) Bridge.
Structurally, the central bar of the cross is supported on piers, while the east west spans are limited to half the channel width. Each bridge segment consists of a slender “box beam” profile that uses the combined structural depth of the upturned guard rail to the interior and the centered beam at the middle point to keep the outboard edges to a slender profile.
+(plus) Bridge replaces a beloved piece of Boston harbor infrastructure with a new kind of infrastructure: a structure for place making, harbor viewing, waterway crossing, and environmental awareness. The new Bridge creates a new waterfront icon for Boston where “+” marks the spot.