Located at the threshold between downtown and the historic North End neighborhood, The North End Parks from their very conception have signified a critical link between the civic scale of Boston and the dense but intimate character of the neighborhood. Since the 1950s, the Freedom Trail has crossed this site in the confined space beneath the Central Artery viaducts. Built atop the Big Dig tunnel, this is no longer a space to pass through but a space in which to linger and contemplate Boston’s past and present.
The North End Parks design is based on the importance of the North End as a “home” community and the importance of the site as a place of crossing between “home” and the city. The park is designed as a threshold into the North End. A steel pergola lines one side of the site and is the conceptual front porch of the North End neighborhood, complete with site furnishings that encourage its use. A reflective water feature separates the porch from a series of lawns and perennial gardens. Through the design, once severed streets and walkways (North Street, Hanover Street, and Salem Street walkway) reconnect the City to the North End. Each crosses the gardens, water feature, and pergola. The site’s rich history is reflected in interpretive elements that include granite marking the edge of the Mill Pond and the water’s edge, descriptive quotes and a timeline engraved in leaning rails, and an engraved stone map illustrating the changing landform of the site.
In association with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Ltd. of Seattle, WA.
The North End Parks is a recipient of the Tucker Design Award and Boston Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award for Parks and Recreation Facilities