The proposal is called HydroUrbanism: Harnessing Energy from Rising Tides. In essence, the PLA-led team looked at the harsh reality of rising sea levels and searched until they saw opportunities instead of just impending doom. Boston’s Columbia Point neighborhood is at the heart of the design, which seems to transform the area into a self-sustaining, resilient neighborhood. To accomplish this task, professionals from a variety of disciplines were needed, and according to Paul Lukez, the project was “made possible through the highly collaborative efforts” of the team, which included C2 Studio, Barnraisers Group LLC, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Arup, and Prof. Anamarija Frankic.
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The neighborhood in question is the perfect candidate for a resilient facelift. It consumes a peninsula that juts out into the bay, giving it a lengthy coastline on three sides The concept is simple. If the tides are rising, why not harness some energy from them? So, that’s what the redesigned neighborhood is proposed to do. The community can draw clean energy through new, advanced hydroelectric systems that generate power from tidal changes. Other renewable systems (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass) enable the community to achieve greater energy independence. The neighborhood is built using a system of courtyards integrated into a new community with self-sustaining renewable energy generation on each block. The new masterplan integrates existing buildings, institutions and campuses while adding such new features as a hydroelectric canal and a system of retention ponds.
The fact remains that the waters will continue to rise, so bringing together the forces of architecture, engineering, and renewable energy to create a holistic solution that benefits the community beyond storm protection was, essentially, a pretty good idea.
+ Lukez Architects
Images via Lukez Architects