A grand vision to open up more of the Boston waterfront realized in steel and lots of late nights has earned Boston Architectural College students John Berger and Sasha Fancoeur first place in the Associate of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the American Institute of Steel Construction student design competition Tall Buildings.
The pair won in the "Open" category where they were challenged to explore a variety of design issues related to the use of steel design and construction. The two architecture students started at the BAC at the same time and have been in several classes together. They admired each other's work, so when they had the opportunity to collaborate on a project together they took it.
Using the competition also as a project in their class, the two classmates focused on creating a plan that opens up a portion of the North End of Boston's waterfront to create public access along with a park. The idea is a floating park and begins at the Boston Common and leads to the harbor, where there is a Coast Guard parking lot and little else.
The classmates took their project personally. "We asked ourselves, ‘Walking down to the waterfront, what would we want to see?'" said John. Steel is flexible, and John said because of that flexibility, they had latitude in how far they could push the whimsy of their design.
In their design, the steel structure is lifted 25 to 30 feet off the ground, like a suspended bridge. Their design includes a building that is elevated above street level. And as a pedestrian travels along the bridge it's like walking in a park. John and Sasha developed a complete design for the bridge including the building systems. The work ran well past the end of the semester.
"It was an iterative process," explained Sasha. "We had lots of models, sketches and we constantly challenged each other ideas."