ROLLING PUBLIC SPACE
Awarded Second Place - Shift Boston
This proposes to transform the definition of infrastructural elements into spatial devices which amplify the public realm. The cabs themselves are a catalyst as an immediate, temporary, and evocative means of a new public forum. This is an opportunity to test the scale at which the public voice can occur; a smaller enclosed cab? at a medium size arena? or in a larger plaza?
Standard rail cab chassis are mechanically modified into a convertible cab that reveals a stadium seating arrangement. From an otherwise barrier, new spatial territories and program are offered by the open position of the body panels, to one side a vertical backdrop for event, to the other a compression of space as a temporary market.
SHIFT BOSTON AWARDS COMMITTEE
The rail cab has a variety of active traits as container, backdrop, and public forum. Upon arrival the train transforms from a linear seating configuration of ‘social steps’ into an instant theater for public performances and a market for local production.
Reinforcing the historical park, three blocks merge to form a super block of enclosed plaza groupings yielding a new city center. In respect to the spatial techniques of Italian medieval towns with attached cathedrals, the train station is an attached device that lends its facade to each of the plazas. This elevates the material nature of the station as its facades address each street portal and walking path with a variety of visual depths
The strategy to build within an established matrix (in New Bedford’s case, a historical one) will yield a further enduring result greater than greenfield speculation. While the established site along the wharf had a scenographic context, the new proposed site between Union and William Streets frame a significant and historically authentic context.
This proposal is in support of existing economies. The new influx of visitors will grow existing businesses in tandem with the founding of new ventures. With it’s proximity and now brief commute to Boston, New Bedford becomes a satellite city for research and job specialization.