Turnpike Units

Boston, MA


Turnpike Units is a mixed-use proposal that occupies air rights over Interstate 90, otherwise known as the Massachusetts Turnpike. On the cusp of two historic Boston neighborhoods, the Back Bay and South End, Turnpike Units attempts to reconcile the destruction of the continuous urban fabric between these districts. Unlike typical deck and cover projects, the Turnpike Units occupy a new type of infrastructure customized for highway air-rights development.

A new highway development model was envisioned for the Turnpike Units in an effort to integrate public and private funds within the air-right development process. Rather than placing construction costs solely on a private developer, this new paradigm separates the initial decking infrastructure and the built form which will eventually occupy it. Government funding will at first be designated for an open-air structural latticework that is designed to anticipate infill, allowing for greater development flexibility.

By divorcing the cost of the decking infrastructure from the developer, the expense of development over the turnpike can be matched to the expense of developing on land; essentially subsidizing air-rights development. The remaining costs of the subsidized infrastructure can be recouped by allowing it to be used in the interim for advertisements as well as for civic endeavors such as public art installations.