Halvorson Design Partnership: Atlantic Wharf is located at a strategic point along Boston’s inner harbor. Facing the Fort Point Channel where the Congress Street Bridge connects Downtown Boston to the Seaport District, this revitalized waterfront has become one of the most popular destinations on Boston Harbor. Historically, the site among the city’s most active mercantile waterfronts, lined with wharves and warehouses. Three of these seven-story brick and stone buildings have survived—and been preserved—as part of the innovative Atlantic Wharf project, serving as an historic “plinth” for a contemporary glass office tower. Developed by Boston Properties, the project includes adaptive reuse of two historic buildings with a tower addition by CBT Architects. The vision for Atlantic Wharf extended beyond restoration of the historic architecture to include a reinvigoration of the waterfront, bringing active urban life to the Harborwalk and achieving ambitious sustainable objectives for the entire site.

The vibrant landscape at Atlantic Wharf is comprised of an open park and events space, redesign of a pivotal segment of the Boston Harborwalk, and a substantial green roof terrace. Artfully composed landscape elements, including a shade pergola integrated with lighting, custom sculptural seat walls, and planted groves, activate this critical junction along the waterfront pedestrian corridor. The landscape strategy extends beyond the Boston Harborwalk and waterfront park to include a striking planted roof terrace on the eighth floor of the restored mercantile Tufts building. The green roof has become one of the signature features of Atlantic Wharf and an integral component of the project’s sustainability program, utilizing a combination of pattern, texture, and color to provide visual interest throughout the year to occupants of the tower. The green roof design is composed of alternating swaths of sedum plantings, native grasses, and contrasting hardscape elements including wood pavers, concrete pavers, and river rock ballast. The orthogonal geometries reference both the contemporary architectural form of Atlantic Wharf and the fingers of docking structures in the Channel below.

Atlantic Wharf is a LEED Platinum project, Boston’s first skyscraper to earn this designation. Obtaining this level of certification involved participation from Halvorson Design throughout design and construction. The completed project uses 69% less domestic water than a typical downtown Boston tower, aided by a highly efficient landscape irrigation system and a plant palate that relies heavily on native plantings. Taking a groundbreaking approach to public realm and green roof design that harmonizes with historic warehouse architecture, Atlantic Wharf has become, in the words of Vivien Li, Boston’s leading waterfront advocate, “the next great place on the Boston’s waterfront—setting the standard for urban open spaces in the 21st century.”

Location: Boston, MA
Design Year: 2009-2010
Year of Construction: 2011
Size: 0.75 acre plaza + streetscape
18,000 SF green roof
Construction Budget: $3,000,000
Photography Credit: Ed Wonsek
Project Team:
Landscape Architects: Halvorson Design Partnership, Inc.
Architects: CBT Architects
Marine Engineer: Childs Engineering Corporation
Civil Engineer: VHB, Inc.
Traffic Engineer: Howard Stein Hudson Associates Inc.
Structural Engineer: McNamara Salvia, Inc.
Client: Boston Properties

Awards + Certifications:
Boston Preservation Alliance
Preservation Achievement Award, 2011

US Green Building Council
LEED Platinum Certified, 2013

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