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Design competition imagines rising tide in Boston’s future

Three teams recognized for their ideas to keep Boston above water in the future

A team named ReDeBOSTON 2100, led by the firm Architerra, proposed raising all of the 100-acre Fort Point neighborhood approximately 12 feet, to match the elevation of Summer Street, which would put the neighborhood above the rising sea water. The plan also would create two waterfront parks for public access.
Architerra
A team named ReDeBOSTON 2100, led by the firm Architerra, proposed raising all of the 100-acre Fort Point neighborhood approximately 12 feet, to match the elevation of Summer Street, which would put the neighborhood above the rising sea water. The plan also would create two waterfront parks for public access.

How should Boston prepare for a future in which rising sea levels brought on by climate change would leave parts of the city chronically under water?

That was the challenge laid out in the Boston Living with Water competition, sponsored by City Hall and several local civic organizations. The contest asked architects, designers, and others to reimagine parts of the city susceptible to flooding, and created three categories for submissions.

One was for a specific property, the Prince Building in the North End; the second for a neighborhood, Fort Point; the third for a piece of infrastructure, Dorchester’s Morrissey Boulevard.

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Some 50 teams submitted proposals, and after winnowing the list to nine semifinalists, a jury this week selected a winner in each category, based on their ability to minimize chronic and episodic flooding damage at each location.

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Winning for its Prince Building Piers proposal were architects Stephanie Goldberg and Mark Reed; a team named ReDeBOSTON 2100, led by the firm Architerra, won for its Fort Point submission; and a team led by Thetis S.p.A. won in the Morrissey Boulevard category.

The proposal from architects Stephanie Goldberg and Mark Reed wouldn’t prevent sea water from entering the city; rather, it would allow the influx of water to create a new shoreline, connected with walkways and boardwalks, focused on recreation and ecological reclamation.
Stephanie Goldberg/Mark Reed
The proposal from architects Stephanie Goldberg and Mark Reed wouldn’t prevent sea water from entering the city; rather, it would allow the influx of water to create a new shoreline, connected with walkways and boardwalks, focused on recreation and ecological reclamation.

Each of the winning teams will receive a $13,000 prize, provided by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Barr Foundation. Other sponsors of the contest included the Boston Harbor Association and the Boston Society of Architects.

The architectural design firm NBBJ received an honorable mention for its proposal “Resilient Linkages,” and will receive $5,000.

The winning proposals, along with content related to coastal flooding, will be on display in the Boston Society of Architects gallery on Atlantic Wharf through the end of June.

Total Resilient Approach, a team led by Thetis S.p.A., submitted a proposal that would elevate the street as much as 18 feet, to protect it from high water levels and also provide a barrier for the adjacent lower level areas. It also would create a system of water networks to divert water from the infrastructure.
Thetis S.p.A.
Total Resilient Approach, a team led by Thetis S.p.A., submitted a proposal that would elevate the street as much as 18 feet, to protect it from high water levels and also provide a barrier for the adjacent lower level areas. It also would create a system of water networks to divert water from the infrastructure.

Eden Shulman can be reached at eden.shulman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @EdenShulman.