Located on the tumultuous edge between land and water, Boston Seaport Districts Fan pier has been and still is a place for the exchange and flow of goods, services, and people. The exploration of these flows or “vectors” and the qualities that propelled and pushed them were the basis of this project.
These vectors are articulated, connected and explored through the use of an overlaid network of existing and proposed view-sheds and circulation systems. These two networks frame as well as push and pull people towards certain points of interest as the movement of people and the movement of water is explored. Through the mapping of sidewalks and view corridors, a persons pace and direction is measured and joined as they traverses the linear street grid and into the site.
Looking to the Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta as a precedent, I was interested in the materiality and sloping topography of this cultural institution as an urban public space. I was inspired by the simple and directional sloping facets and the way materials were used in this project.
Through various iterations using trace, bristol and laser-cutting, topography was explored by assigning high points, low points and various ground materials that allow for water to move at different speeds either; sheeting, rushing, percolating, infiltrating, or pooling. Materials such as black granite, white marble, gravel, and soil were assigned to the various “parterres” that emerge between the criss-crossing pathways.
The circulation system which sits at 5+ m above low tide is made of carefully crafted wooden planks pieced together in a dynamic pattern to create a more varied walking experience for visitors. The wooden decking system is interspersed by metal grating near the entrance of the site, providing a more immersed experience. Furthermore, when it rains, water falling from sky will sheet along the surface of the black granite facets and then is seen rushing underneath the feet of the visitors. The main attraction on the site is the 90 metre long boardwalk that points out into the harbour. The width of the path decrease as well as changes orientation, allowing for various sized gathering spaces to occupy the large expanse.