888 Boylston Street (Public Plaza) by Mikyoung Kim
2017 - 2018, Golden A' Landscape Planning and Garden Design Award Winner
The plaza design is connected back to the sustainable strategies defined in the 888 Boylston tower, credited as one of the most sustainable office buildings in New England, complete with solar panels, green roofs, rain gardens, and wind turbines. Intensive wind studies showed intense wind occurred at the edges of the property, inspiring the design of the plaza, the sculpted planters, and the color-changing wind vanes that are programmed to a weather sensor to create an interactive experience.
The design of the Prudential Plaza highlights the wind patterns on site through such innovative elements as seemingly wind-swept, carved granite planters and a grove of forty-four color-changing steel light columns, each capped with a sculptural wind vane that moves with the wind. These 'light vanes' transform this urban plaza into a living wind map. Designed in conjunction with the new 888 Boylston Street tower, the plaza has become an epicentre for retail, dining, and civic events in downtown Boston.
Design Challenges
The 888 Boylston Street plaza is connected to many popular tourist destinations in a centralized, historic Boston neighborhood so the redesigned plaza had to withstand high pedestrian traffic flow. There were structural constraints of the existing garage below the plaza that resulted in strict, but varying, weight limitations throughout the landscape. Utilizing the latest technology, the design team worked closely with the stone fabricators to carve the stone to meet these weight restrictions.
Production Technology
The latest 5-axis CNC technology was utilized for the fluid granite seating elements. The 44 light columns stand nearly 5 meters (15 feet) tall and are all custom fabricated using a single metal strand that wraps around structural rods to create a delicate spiral translucent screen that is densely wound at the base and gradually opens towards the sky. Each light column is caped with a custom moving wind vane with a mirrored base to reflect the light back to the ground.
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