Our urbanism studio co-opted the program of Olympic Village for Boston’s 2024 bid. My partner and I sought to utilize the global lens of the Olympics to justify the financial burden of hosting. We found spectatorship to be a unifying concept in achieving our programmatic and environmental goals, while also reflecting the ever-increasing media presence in everyday life and at the Olympic Games.
Harnessing Boston’s existing reputation for education, we proposed using the Olympic village to rebrand Boston as the East Coast entrepreneurial hub. We opted to incorporate the Olympic media hub program into our site to provide a unique community for competitive entrepreneurial startups after the Olympics as well as increase density. Boston need only retain a percentage of its graduates to transform economically and culturally.
Second, the Village’s position on Boston’s harbor and the enormous scale of the Olympic program provide a unique opportunity to alter Boston’s problematic relationship with water. Historical land use and infill of the harbor have made expensive flooding an imminent danger to Boston’s future development. Engaging Boston residents with the water now is crucial to its resiliency in the face of climate change. While much of the existing harbor is programmed as public space, these spaces are largely disconnected and not scaled for pedestrian use, occupied only for infrequent events and recreational boating. Our design integrates water into every aspect of daily life, educating residents and workers through the spectacle of the daily water cycle while providing productive landscapes for storm water management and designated flood environments.
The result of our focus on spectatorship is visual, physical, and environmental porosity throughout the site. The central location of the media hub and its formal relationship to the surrounding training spaces creates visual porosity. Physical porosity results from a system of pedestrian routes that connect different nodes of activity, which also increases visual porosity through creating new user interactions. Lastly, the weaving of water and open space throughout the commercial and residential fabric at multiple datums creates both environmental porosity and a constant awareness of the ecosystem within which the buildings are situated.