WATERFIELD BLOCK

The Waterfield Block is a commercial block in Winchester’s Town Center bounded by the Town Green and by the commuter rail that has allowed Winchester to flourish as a bedroom community of Boston. While Winchester itself possesses many positive attributes typical of a classic New England community — stately civic buildings, commercial enterprise, residential building stock, a park system and waterway, a comfortable pedestrian scale — the Waterfield Block faces challenges that are also typical of these communities as they age and grow. Characterized by incomplete commercial edges and low-density surface parking, it is dominated by the commuter rail viaduct, a massive, elevated stone structure that regrettably bifurcates the Town Center.

PROJECT LOCATION
Winchester, MA

PROJECT SIZE 

400,000 SF

PROJECT TYPE

Urban Design, Workspace, Residential, Infrastructure

CLIENT

Town of Winchester

AW’s urban design proposal introduces a strategy for repairing this rift and strengthening the Town’s fabric: co-opt the viaduct and transform it into a compelling urban attractor that energizes both public and semi-public life. Through a series of subtractive operations on the viaduct’s mass, the Town Center’s geography is drawn into and through the infrastructure, establishing a new context for commerce, for a series of urban vestibules, and for living. 

At the scale of “Town,” an otherwise modest, unmanned rail shed becomes a significant, elongated, translucent, landmark that celebrates rather than conceals. It establishes a series of localized pedestrian and vehicular connections that marry the urban plan’s different scales, and creates two perpendicular, symbolic conditions: a punctuating moment along the continuity of the rail line and a defining epicenter of Town life. A neglected piece of infrastructure becomes a contemporary manifestation of optimism.

AWARCH

Anmahian Winton Architects

650 Cambridge Street

Cambridge, MA 02141

(617) 577-7400