NORTHERN AVENUE BOTANICAL BRIDGE
Although the era of industrial and urban use has passed for Boston’s historic Northern Avenue Bridge, it remains an iconic landmark worthy of preservation and revitalization. The swing bridge is a testament to the city’s ingenuity in the mechanical age, an engineering triumph that stands the test of time.
Our winning competition proposal to renew the Bridge preserves and transforms it from an abandoned relic into a functional artifact. A new Northern Avenue Botanical Bridge (NABB) becomes a greenhouse where botanical gardens flourish year-round, regenerating connections between downtown Boston and the South Boston Waterfront by extending the Rose Kennedy Greenway into the Seaport District. As an armature for pedestrian travel and social interaction, it connects neighbors and neighborhoods, contributing to the culture of this dynamic urban area.
As a fully enclosed greenhouse, NABB maintains the bridge’s operable center span, to accommodate water traffic in Fort Point Channel. The fixed spans on either end of the bridge would be planted as winter gardens, providing sheltered areas during the colder months. The glass walls of the center greenhouse are designed to open and close, controlling the interior temperature and providing an optimal environment for exotic plants and fruit trees.
Ultimately, NABB’s restored, trellis-like structure and glass greenhouse shed aim to provide a much needed haven for pedestrians and cyclists as they cross the Channel, creating a new destination for residents and visitors that honors a Boston landmark in a purposeful and beautiful way.