Ora Seaport || Arrowstreet Inc. || Architect of the Year Awards 2020

Arrowstreet Inc.: Winner of Architect of the Year Awards 2020. A primary focus of this 500,000 square foot development is to set a standard for community-oriented urban design that addresses the resiliency challenges of building along the waterfront. To resolve these unique challenges, the architecture and landscaping address the site’s immediate needs while incorporating long-term resiliency strategies through interwoven public spaces and phytoremediation.

The project is the first within Boston to use passive flood barrier gate technology. This four-foot-tall passive flood barrier gate protects the lower parking level and is recessed in the concrete floor at the top of the garage entry ramp. The gate is only activated by rising water. The extrusions are designed to be structural while also providing excellent flotation. The rising floodwaters create the hydrostatic pressure to float the buoyant aluminum beam and flip it into a vertical position.

With resiliency measures a critical consideration, the interior and exterior architecture celebrates the site’s proximity to the water. Designed as an experience, the building is comprised of a sequence of spaces that unfold, revealing themselves to you navigate from the interior to exterior. A monumental outdoor staircase and a significant structural cantilever frame an outdoor terrace, providing space for a restaurant and recreation. Outdoor rooms, coupled with a series of roof decks, create a vertical neighborhood on the building façade and a dynamic street edge to take advantage of water views and a popular performance pavilion across the street.

Landscaping elements such as planters, sloped walks, and walls that can double as outdoor seating integrate into the raised entry areas and seamlessly raise the ground floor’s elevation to further protect it from flooding. These passive systems eliminate the need for more traditional deployable flood barriers and fences that would require assembly around the entire building.

During the design phase, we presented sea-level rise scenarios using virtual and augmented reality to help the client fully understand the probable flood impacts on the development. This process allowed the design team to vividly describe a measured and passive response.

Firm || Arrowstreet Inc.
Project Name || Ora Seaport
Architect || Arrowstreet Inc.
Architect of the Year Award Category || Residential Built

Project Location || South Boston
Team || Arrowstreet Inc.
Country || United States
Photography ©Credit || ©Robert Benson Photography

As an award-winning, Boston-based architecture and design firm, Arrowstreet is comprised of over 95 architects, interior designers, planners, and graphic designers who are astute observers, bringing diverse perspectives to every venture. We harness our staff’s depth of knowledge and creative thinking to solve the diverse building challenges across a wide range of sectors and building types. From multi-dimensional, urban mixed-use projects to multi-family housing, hospitality, retail, and schools, we are progressive, collaborative, and fresh in our approach. At the heart of Arrowstreet’s practice is the ability to take complex projects and distill them into dynamic design and development opportunities. The firm’s projects reflect developing social patterns, business trends and anticipated changes in the natural environment; our designers consider building resiliency, rising sea levels, and environmental sustainability. Arrowstreet approaches each commission as unique and develops thoughtful, forward-thinking design solutions that blend the authentic character of a community with progressive ideas and techniques. We apply new technology to our interdisciplinary practice and have embraced virtual and augmented reality to enhance our design practice and client engagement.