Project Overview
Size- 65,500 meter square.
Type- Commercial, Recreational, Office Retail, Hospitality, Sport, Restaurant
Competition- 2017, International invited competition
Status- Expected completion of the Construction of Commonwealth Pier in 2024
Client- Pembroke
Build Contractor- Turner|Janey
Design Architect- Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Executive Architect- CBT Architects
Landscape Architect- IBI Placemaking
Engineer- Thornton Tomasetti (Structure), Arup (MEP, Sustainability)
Sustainability- Target to achieve LEED Version 4 Gold Certification

Seaport World Trade Center ©Cityscape Digital for Pembroke
Construction begins on redesigning of Boston's Seaport World Trade Center by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects - Sheet1
Seaport World Trade Center ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Introduction

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, a Danish architectural practice has announced the construction of the revitalization project for the Seaport World Trade Center on Commonwealth Pier in Boston, Massachusetts. Being an expansive mixed-use development on the historic commonwealth pier in the city’s seaport district, this 65,500 square meter of adaptive reuse project will introduce new and unique ways to engage the public with the waterfront while also introducing concepts of increasing daylight, and providing new points of connectivity along with new materials. 

Construction begins on redesigning of Boston's Seaport World Trade Center by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects - Sheet5
Seaport World Trade Center ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Design Character

Public plazas, promenades, enhanced harbour walk, retail, first-class seaport hotel, workplaces, 45000 square feet of retail space and 56000 square feet flexible event plus meeting spaces will be the part of this new development. It will also include courtyards, walkways, green outdoor spaces, 2300 square meter of grand waterfront plaza which will become the central gathering point of the pier providing flexible outdoor space all round the year. This in turn will create a multi use community destination for residents of Boston featuring tree plantings, and areas for moveable tables and chairs and custom seating. The popular paved path along the Boston Harbour, that is the Harbourwalk runs along the perimeter of the site and gives views of downtown Boston to the Pedestrians. 

Construction begins on redesigning of Boston's Seaport World Trade Center by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects - Sheet6
Seaport World Trade Center ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Construction begins on redesigning of Boston's Seaport World Trade Center by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects - Sheet2
Seaport World Trade Center ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Re-engaging and Re-imagining the waterfront

The commonwealth Pier, once the largest of its kind, which was built more than 100 years ago, the developer in this project is seeking to re-imagine and re-engage the waterfront to the community, visitors and pedestrians with more natural amenities. This revitalization project is expected to bring new life to this existing iconic building, reconnecting it to the harbour and the neighbourhood by creating a unique waterfront experience for Boston. Connected to the Harbourwalk and an open ait Harbour Plaza, this project will be having improved docking areas and niches which will be programmed along with the carved out alcoves along the exterior of the building. All these additional features will offer an active, seamless and welcoming public realm.

Construction begins on redesigning of Boston's Seaport World Trade Center by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects - Sheet3
Seaport World Trade Center ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Construction begins on redesigning of Boston's Seaport World Trade Center by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects - Sheet7
Seaport World Trade Center ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Construction begins on redesigning of Boston's Seaport World Trade Center by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects - Sheet4
Seaport World Trade Center ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Design Intent

Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s design intent for Commonwealth Pier and seaport world trade centre is to preserve many of the rich and unique historic components of the building while making it a highly attractive modern-day destination. While the facade of historic neoclassical Headhouse (Central to the SHL scheme) will have exposed columns and column connections, the stone arches and the cornice will remain intact, to bring out industrial style warehouse character from the original structure. The northern extension will be introduced with curtain walls and other lightweight materials which will make the building look integrated seamlessly into the neighbourhood context. In the building facade, there will be niches providing additional public seating accommodation, connectivity to the dining and retail and shaded areas. 

Construction begins on redesigning of Boston's Seaport World Trade Center by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects - Sheet8
Seaport World Trade Center ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Adhering to 2070 Resiliency Goals

This revitalization project for the Seaport World trade centre on Commonwealth pier is designed by CBT in partnership with Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. In addition to this, CBT involved supervising and overseeing the amalgamation of design strategies at both sides and building levels. This new Commonwealth Pier is expected to be one of the most resilient buildings in the entire Boston and facilitate compliance to 2070 resiliency goals by enhancing the project’s technical climate adaptation elements. 

By the year 2024, the construction of the Commonwealth Pier is expected to be completed. To summarize, being its second project in the USA, SHL’s revitalization project is set on a target for LEED Gold Certification, incorporating design strategies that are advanced for resilience and sustainability, ensuring the Commonwealth Pier continues to bring enjoyment to upcoming generations.

“We have tried to be mindful and meticulous in our approach to the Commonwealth Pier’s transformation,” said the Partner and Design Director at Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Kristian Ahlmark. “With curiosity and precision, we approached the place and carefully assessed what we found important to preserve – both architecturally and culturally. We engaged in a continuous conversation with the building throughout the process, which was done in close collaboration with Pembroke and the many great consultants that have been a part of this journey.” He continued. 

“The most significant architectural statement is often made through what is left untouched or enhanced when working on an existing structure. This project has been about unleashing the inherent potential of the building as a natural gathering point and an urban living room of the entire seaport district,” explained Ahlmark.

In collaboration with developer Pembroke Real Estate LLC, this scheme was developed. CBT Architects being an Executive architect, Sasaki being a landscape architect. The Seaport World Trade Center has a similar concept from the firm’s Monroe Blocks scheme in Detroit.

Author

Diksha is an architecture graduate from Nirma University, 2020. Being an avid traveler, she has always tried to connect the city's culture with architecture. She is a keen observer, finds inspiration from unexplored places and believes that true essence of architecture lies in its execution (form generation) and user experience.

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