News & Updates

Mayor Walsh presents awards for Northern Ave Bridge Ideas Competition

May 26, 2016

Sets the stage for City to issue design RFP

Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined Tamara Roy AIA, 2016 President of the Boston Society of Architects/AIA (BSA), and close to 200 guests at a reception last night at BSA Space to celebrate the winners of the Northern Avenue Bridge Ideas Competition. Launched in March as a partnership between the City of Boston and the BSA, the competition spurred a robust public conversation that inspired a host of innovative ideas for the future of the bridge based on three key themes: improving mobility, honoring history, and creating destination.

"By opening this competition up to the public, we heard from architects, designers, historians and members of our community who took an interest in what the future of the Northern Ave Bridge should look like," said Mayor Walsh. "The ideas and conversation that we sparked during the process are tremendously valuable as we take the next step to design a new bridge, and I thank all who participated."

The exchange of ideas generated 133 submissions, including 99 graphic designs and 34 essays. The call for written entries was intended to encourage broad participation in the competition, beyond those who have design expertise. A sixteen-member jury was assembled by the City and the BSA to judge the entries. Representing a diverse set of talents and interests - from architects and designers, to artists, preservationists, transportation advocates, and planners - the panel took on the tough but exciting task of selecting the award winning ideas.

"Because of the inclusive public visioning process, the jury was given an opportunity to evaluate an incredibly broad range of proposals," said Tamara Roy AIA. "The results, together with a commitment to design excellence, will point the way forward in bringing this corner of the city to life and will ultimately give Boston the Northern Avenue Bridge it deserves."

A total of $15,000 in prize money was awarded to the eight most compelling submissions that best addressed the competition themes in the eyes of the jury.

The Jury selected the following winners for graphic design submissions: "Northern Avenue Botanical Bridge," "Island in the Stream," "Northern Avenue Bridge Park," and "+(Plus) Bridge." In the essay category, the jury selected "The Northern Ave Bridge is Boston" and "A City in Motion, Pauses" as the winners.

Honorable mentions were awarded to "Steampunk Gateway: Reimagining Boston's Maritime History" and "Channel Mall Station," both of which were graphic design submissions.

The People's Choice Award, based on the submission that received the most online votes on the competition website, went to "Pivot Point Bridge."

"As we look to create a thriving and efficient transportation network in Boston, the ideas competition provided us with several guiding principles to consider," said Chris Osgood, the City's first Chief of Streets, who joined Mayor Walsh to preside over last night's ceremony and offered his perspective on how the competition would help inform the design of the new Northern Avenue Bridge. "First, it's clear that we need to think about a multimodal bridge that would welcome pedestrians, cars, and cyclists. A successful design would also create a unique destination, not just a bridge, that improves connectivity between the Seaport and the Greenway."

The Public Works Department is currently drafting a request for proposals for the design of the future bridge that it hopes to release in the coming months. The Northern Avenue Bridge, which opened in 1908 and closed in December 2014 due to concerns about its structural integrity, is a steel three-span, triple-barreled, Pratt-type through-truss bridge. During its lifetime, the bridge carried automobiles, pedestrians, cyclists, and even train traffic for the Union Railway for over 50 years.

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