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Green Good Design Awards ARCHIVE 2018 Research/Technology
The Hydroelectric Canal | Boston, Massachussetts, USA | 2014-2015
  • The Hydroelectric Canal | Boston, Massachussetts, USA | 2014-2015
  • The Hydroelectric Canal | Boston, Massachussetts, USA | 2014-2015
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The Hydroelectric Canal | Boston, Massachussetts, USA | 2014-2015

Architects: Paul Lukez Architecture
Client: Boston Society of Architects
Landscape Architects: C2 Studio
Contractors: Barnraisers Group, LLC.
Cost Estimators: PM&C
Engineers: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.
Engineers: Arup
Consultants: X-Factor Architecture
Consultants: Anamarija Frankic

We propose to harness clean energy through hydropower generation from tidal changes and storm surges in low-lying urban areas, as a means of shaping economically and environmentally resilient, self-sustaining communities.

The end result offers an array of integrated landscaping, ecological restoration, urban development and financing strategies for achieving this goal.

The proposal draws from a hydropower generation method from the 1640s: Boston’s Mill Creek connected a northern tidal basin (Mill Pond) with the southern harbor (Town Cove), harnessing tidal changes to power strategically located gristmills at the creek’s ends. This historic fusion of landscape and infrastructure energized Boston’s new economy and community.

Concept: Some 400 years later, this proposal cuts a channel through Columbia Point to connect the northern Old Harbor with the southern Savin Hill Cove.

The new Morrissey Channel would capture rising sea levels and tidal changes and embrace the ebb and flow of natural water currents to generate hydroelectric energy through advanced turbine technologies, which would power communities and build lively public spaces.

This ecologically sustainable urban model would assume a new form of resilient urbanism that generates an amenity-rich landscape, restored ecology, and an economically viable, self-sustaining community.

Design Process: We assembled a team of landscape architects, ecologists, engineers, venture capitalists, economists, cost estimators, and leading entrepreneurs and scientists advancing turbine technologies for river and ocean applications.

Our three months of iterative design exploration included identification of market- ready turbines amenable to Columbia Point’s ecology and landscape.

Landscape / Ecology: This proposal would restore 232 hectares of intertidal salt marshes to store 4 million liters of water/acre, reduce the tidal wave height by 90% within 20 meters of the marsh edge, accrete sediment by 0.25 cm/m2/year, and absorb 481 tons of CO2/year to counter carbon sequestration.

In addition, 63 acres of oyster/mussel/clam beds would be restored as a shoreline buffer filtering 30-50 gallons of water/day/oyster for water quality improvement and sediment reduction. Other ecological benefits would include shoreline revegetation for coastal habitats, buffers, biodiversity and landscape quality; intertidal pool expansion for rocky habitats; and wetland remediation and courtyard water recycling for storm water management. Summary

This proposal fulfills a new need for more resilient Boston neighborhoods by combining colonial-era urban design patterns and precedents with new hydrokinetic technologies. This mix creates new forms of urban habitation, where water actively generates sustainable energy, urban life and urban form for generations to come.

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