Floatyard Housing, Charlestown Residences, Boston Buildings, Massachusetts Architecture, Architect

Floatyard Charlestown : Boston Floating Housing

Massachusetts Waterfront Residential Development design by Perkins + Will, Architects, USA

Design: Perkins + Will Architects

Location: Charlestown, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Situated on the banks of Boston Harbor and the Mystic River on the north side of the city, Charlestown has translated its historical roots into a thriving 21st Century neighborhood.

Boston Harbor Floating Housing

Floatyard Boston floating housing design
image from architect

Mar 4, 2013


As the home to such significant landmarks as the U.S.S. Constitution, the Bunker Hill Monument and the Navy Yard, Charlestown’s allure has enticed a new generation of immigrants – young professionals – to join its traditionally Irish- American population. The life of Charlestown – its services, restaurants and establishments are concentrated inland, along Main Street and in City Square. Only a small percentage of Charlestown’s housing is located along the waterfront and because most of the Charlestown waterfront is park – that cannot be developed – there is a lack of space for new waterfront development.

Floatyard Boston
image from architect

We propose increasing the number of waterfront residences to meet the current demand for young professional housing by building on the water. Floatyard will be a floating complex – entirely on water – that will provide both housing and public programming.

It will provide over 100 new living units, and 6 generous spaces for commercial use, while further engaging the waterfront with what will be Boston’s first community water center hosting amenities such as pools, a water sport and small watercraft center, diving wells and a number of other water-focused services. The location of Floatyard makes it easily accessible to the greater Boston metropolitan area by the highly-efficient MBTA water transport.

Floatyard Boston
image from architect


Charlestown is located north of downtown Boston on a peninsula extending southeastward between the Charles River and the Mystic River. The geographic extent of the neighborhood has changed dramatically from its colonial ancestor. Landfill operations have expanded much of Boston and Charlestown, lowering hills and filling existing salt marsh. But the sea will reclaim the land once again when it rises with the tides of global warming.

Floatyard Boston
image from architect

In lieu of traditional pilings, Floatyard will be constructed out of a system that will allow the entire complex to float and therefore rise and fall with the tide. It will serve as a testing ground for community living on water and perhaps it will spur cities to think more creatively about embracing the sea.

Floatyard will use opportunities that exist in the environment of its geographical location to generate energy and prevent energy waste. The building will harvest solar energy from the roof, tidal energy from the mooring columns that anchor it; and given a generous average annual precipitation, the building will also harvest rainwater.

As Floatyard rises and falls approximately 9.8 feet with each tidal cycle, mooring columns keep the building in place with each shift. Mooring columns contain air chambers and pistons that compress air with each cycle to generate energy.

Floatyard Boston Harbor – Building Information

Entry Number: 207
Category: multi-family housing
Project name: Floatyard
Location: Charlestown, Massachusetts

Site Characteristics: A waterfront parcel zoned for a pier.
Client Description: private developer
Program: multi-family housing, public water-park, light commercial use

Zoning Constraints: The project must remain in the footprint of a previous pier which is 120 feet in width x 600 feet in length. A maximum height of 65 feet is allowable.

Construction System: Structural insulated panels on a steel frame with a hollow concrete floating foundation.

Funding: Private developer
Schedule: Pending city approval, to be complete by 2016.
Square Footage: 86,542 square feet
Projected Cost: Withheld by client

Floatyard Boston Harbor images / information from Perkins + Will Architects

Perkins + Will

Location: Charlestown, Boston, MA, USA

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