Our proposal transforms the bridge into a ship that docks at diverse Boston Harbor Shores. Becoming an iconic landmark on each waterfront, island or wharf it moors at, it activates local cultural and educational events and recreational activities there. Over the year it changes shores, thereby connecting disparate communities and places in a “hands across the sea” gesture, bringing people together from all around Boston and surrounding communities.
Bridge as Ship: A Typological Transformation
The Northern Avenue Bridge remains a bridge to Seaport, but it can readily be sent afloat. It sits on six perpendicular pontoons with small motors coordinated to power and navigates its motion. A structural web of steel supports elevates it, creating a habitable space between the bridge’s underside and pontoons.
Bridge as Dock
The bridge can also become a mid-harbor floating dock. Its pontoons allow boats from around New England to berth there so visitors can disembark onto the bridge.
Bridge as Energy Generator
Two of the bridge’s three bays will have glass roof canopies with embedded PV cells (BIPV). Tidal turbines will be placed in the channels between the pontoons, creating more renewable energy, to be stored in large battery arrays in waterproofed bays on the pontoons. The bridge can thus sustain its own energy needs, depending on its energy demands.
Bridge as Multi-Use Program Platform
The three bays can be programmed for concerts, fairs, festivals, parties, weddings and other community events. They can also be platforms for educational and research programs on marine science, climate change, etc., for students. Support vehicles (food carts, educational trailers, restrooms, etc.) can be wheeled onto the bridge as events demand.