Commonwealth Pier, Boston, Massachusetts Contemporary Interior, American Architecture Images

Commonwealth Pier in Boston

Oct 26, 2020

Commonwealth Pier, Seaport World Trade Center

Design Architect: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Location: Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Commonwealth Pier Boston
image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Construction has begun on the redesign of Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center, an expansive mixed-use development on historic Commonwealth Pier in the city’s Seaport District. Designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen, the adaptive reuse project will introduce new ways to explore and engage with the waterfront. These include a public plaza, an enhanced Harborwalk, retail, and first-class Seaport Hotel event and meeting spaces, as well as a unique, flexible workplace.

Commonwealth Pier Boston
image © Cityscape Digital for Pembroke

International real estate developer Pembroke turned to Schmidt Hammer Lassen, along with Boston-based architectural firm CBT, to honor the site’s historic integrity while also introducing new materials, increasing daylight, and providing new points of connectivity. Commonwealth Pier was built more than 100 years ago and was once the largest of its kind in the world. The revitalization project, which is targeting LEED Gold Certification, incorporates advanced design strategies for resilience and sustainability to ensure the pier’s continued enjoyment for generations to come.

Commonwealth Pier Boston
image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

“We’re thrilled to start construction and take another step forward with our revitalization of Commonwealth Pier. This project reintroduces the Pier as a new destination in what has become a thriving neighborhood,” said Andrew Dankwerth, Senior Vice President, Design & Development at Pembroke. “This revitalization will bring new life to this iconic building, reconnecting it to the harbor and the neighborhood by creating a unique waterfront experience for Boston.”

Commonwealth Pier Boston
image © Cityscape Digital for Pembroke

“In our approach to the Commonwealth Pier’s transformation we have tried to be mindful and meticulous,” said Kristian Ahlmark, Partner and Design Director at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “We approached the place with curiosity and precision, and carefully assessed what we found important to preserve – both architecturally and culturally. We engaged in a continuous conversation with the building throughout the process, which was done in close collaboration with Pembroke and the many great consultants that have been a part of this journey.”

Commonwealth Pier Boston
image © Cityscape Digital for Pembroke

A Dynamic Public Space
Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s design of the site includes enhanced outdoor spaces and public amenities, including courtyards, walkways, green spaces, and a grand waterfront plaza. The plaza will become the pier’s central gathering point, providing a flexible outdoor space for year-round activities. It will feature, tree plantings, custom seating, and areas for moveable tables and chairs.

Commonwealth Pier Boston
image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

The Harborwalk, a popular paved pedestrian path along Boston Harbor, runs along the site’s perimeter and views to downtown Boston, East Boston, and the Boston Harbor. There, too, Schmidt Hammer Lassen designed spaces to accommodate custom seating, integrated planters, and outdoor lighting—all of which will allow for a dynamic visitor experience. Niches in the building’s façade will provide additional public seating, shaded areas, and connectivity to retail and dining.

Commonwealth Pier Boston
image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Preserving Boston’s Maritime Past
Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s design intent for Commonwealth Pier is to preserve the building’s unique heritage while making it a highly attractive modern-day destination. The stone arches and cornice of the historic neo-classical headhouse will remain intact. The façade of the building’s northern extension will include exposed columns and column connections from the original structure. With the introduction of curtain wall and other lightweight materials, the building will integrate seamlessly into its neighborhood context.

“When working on an existing structure, the most significant architectural statement is often made through what is left untouched or enhanced. This project has been about unleashing the inherent potential of the building as a natural gathering point and an urban living room of the entire seaport district,” explained Ahlmark.

Commonwealth Pier is Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s second U.S. project. In December 2018, the practice’s mixed-use Monroe Blocks project in Detroit, Michigan broke ground, and in 2020, it announced an expansion into North America in partnership with its parent firm, Perkins&Will.

About Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, part of global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will, is one of Scandinavia’s most recognized and award-winning architectural practices. The company was founded in Aarhus, Denmark in 1986 and is led today by partners Morten Schmidt, Kim Holst Jensen, Kristian Lars Ahlmark, Chris Hardie, Mads Kaltoft, Kasper Frandsen, Elif Tinaztepe, Tiago Pereira, and Sanne Wall-Gremstrup.

The firm provides skilled architectural services all over the world, with a distinguished track record as designers of international, high-profile architecture. Cultural and educational buildings, offices, commercial, retail, and residential buildings, often in mixed-use developments and complex urban contexts, are cornerstones of the firm’s output. The practice has extensive global experience in the design of libraries and other public and cultural landmark buildings, and its innovative, sustainable, and democratic approach to architecture has attracted global attention, winning more than 100 national and international awards.

Commonwealth Pier Boston
image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

About Pembroke
We’re an international real estate advisor that acquires, develops and manages properties and places – specializing in mixed-use and office environments in the world’s leading cities. Facilitating patient capital of our investors, we take a long-term approach to real estate, investing in global cities with proven long-term growth potential.

We have offices in Boston, London, Munich, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, and Washington DC, and manage approximately 802,000 sq m/8.6m sq ft in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. By combining a global point of view with local expertise, we’re able to create and manage world-class properties that deliver the best outcomes for our tenants, investors and the communities in which we work.

Commonwealth Pier Boston

Commonwealth Pier Boston
image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Commonwealth Pier in Boston, Massachusetts – Building Information

Design Architect: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Building Area: 65,500 sqm
Competition: International invited competition, 2017
Status: Construction of Commonwealth Pier is expected to complete in 2024
Client: Pembroke
Construction Management: Turner|Janey
Executive Architect: CBT Architects
Landscape Architect: IBI Placemaking
Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti (Structure) and Arup (MEP, Sustainability)
Sustainability: Targeting LEED Version 4 Gold Certification

Note!
Maritime activity will continue along the pier during and after construction

Visuals: Cityscape Digital for Pembroke and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

schmidt hammer lassen architects

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Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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