BSA Holds Design Workshop on Surrounding Open Spaces for I-90 Project

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Soldiers Field Road separates the University's main campus in Cambridge and Allston. Photo: Derek G. Xiao (Photo courtesy: Harvard Crimson)

BOSTON–The Boston Society of Architects hosted an Allston Esplanade Design Workshop Thursday evening, encouraging public participation in designing open spaces around upcoming construction projects in the Allston area, reported the Harvard Crimson.

“Architects, engineers, and local activists participated in the workshop. Discussions focused on green spaces, public bike paths, and walkways stemming from the future I-90 construction project. The $1.1 billion project will raise Soldiers Field Road alongside the Charles River onto a new viaduct and will lower the Mass. Turnpike to ground level. The project may not begin for several years and may take eight years before it is completed,” said Crimson.

The newspaper said that  roughly 100 participants mingled in the BSA’s Boston office before hearing introductions to Allston sites and their respective histories. Attendees then broke into design groups to analyze three distinct construction areas: the intersection of the BU/Grand Junction Bridges and Soldiers Field Road, the “throat” cross-section, and the Agganis Way connector.

“I’ve lived in Brighton Allston for many, many years as a landscape architect,” Patrick J. Callahan, a workshop participant, told Crimson. “I know the area well, and I just wanted to come and see what this was about and just give my two cents and just be able to help out.”

Crimson quoted Charles River Conservancy Executive Director Laura J. Jasinski as saying that she believes combining local architectural expertise and activist knowledge will improve the final construction outcome. “[This] can help solve a number of problems, get people excited about new ideas, really tap into the design community in Allston, and solve a really big issue that’s going to affect the whole site,” Jasinski said.

BSA Urban Design Committee Chair Seth Riseman said he hopes the proposals in this year’s design workshop “will find resonance within the community, within the advocacy groups, and within MassDOT itself,” generating“a creative way to do something that we hadn’t necessarily thought of before,” according to the newspaper. Following Thursday’s workshop, a summary of the proposals, sketches, and design principles will be made available to the public and MassDOT, according to Riseman.

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