urban waterfront district study

urban waterfront district study

Along the New England coast, seaport economies rise and fall in a constant cycle of regeneration responding to local, and now, national and global economies. Our work envisions a major reinvestment in the historic waterfront of Newburyport. The reinvestment combines a working waterfront and marina district with the 24/7 atmosphere created by residential life and a supportive commercial environment.

The strategy enables current local business that have iconic name recognition to stay and continue to thrive. It prioritizes pier rehabilitation and outfitting for recreation craft so that costly infrastructure investments are first targeted where they have immediate financial return. This sets the stage for a major programmatic change away from former industrial uses toward mixed-use, a recreation marina, and residential offerings.

The new vision resurrects the waterfront district as a place to live, capitalizing on the stunning views to the water and the short walk to the historic downtown. The proposed building forms echo the long simple and bold wharf structures that stretch to the waterfront, maximizing the view potential for as many of the new homes and lofts as possible. Within these simple shells, we offer multiple home types, from row houses, to studios and waterfront lofts. At the waterfront ends of these pier-like buildings, we provide wonderful retail and commercial opportunities that will thrive on the waterfront, including a hotel, restaurant, cafes, and water-related uses. All of this is accomplished with a long-term perspective that grapples with the new realities of sea-level rise and the resulting changes to the regulatory environment.

The site idea envisions clear straight streets to the sea, formed parallel to the pier-like buildings, always maximizing the waterfront view, promoting proximity, and creating a pavement and stormwater system that maximizes runoff quality and provides infiltration wherever possible. Parking is handled using both a partial first-floor interior use (finding an opportunity in flood-plain-use restrictions) and court-like environments between the buildings. The site and landscape idea unites the composition by using industrial waterfront materials in bold new ways: wood, granite, asphalt, and galvanized steel are recombined with a much lighter, new industrial character, strong bosques of trees define the waterfront public space and provide summer shade. Every component reflects the transformation of an industrial place into a bustling civic environment where people want to live.