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city scale pergolas+

These city scale pergolas are part of the North End Parks, the first parks built over Boston’s Big Dig (sunk highway tunnels).

Ioana Urma worked as an Architectural Consultant for the design landscape architecture firm, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, and the local firm of record, Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge, on developing the constructability and details - architectural and financial - of the schematically designed pergolas.

This included studies in proportion and geometry, material changes (bronze to painted steel, for cost); making the pergolas thinner and more elegant (tubes changed to plate members); integrating hidden lighting & electrical outlets; adding supports for plant growth; coordinating with the Big Dig tunnels below (removable sections, location of footings); and establishing a pigeon-free environment.

Because of its location over the freeway tunnels, a shallow ground depth packed with a variety of civil and electrical engineering obstacles, the project was very challenging. It was hard to locate thefootings.

The scale of the pergolas added to the difficulty, since steel tolerances are typically very high (1/16”), but the pergoals were hundreds of feet long. It was akin to making a detailed piece of furniture at an urban scale.

Moreover, because the pergolas array and change shape in both plan and elevation, no two pieces are the same size. Ioana knew that as a public bid project, the contract would be won by the lowest bidder. So as to reduce errors in construction, she created a set of drawings that was extremely detailed, almost like shop drawings. (Just a tiny selection are shown here.)

And by thoroughly consulting with metal fabricators, galvanizers and materials suppliers during the design process, she brought the project within budget.

Ioana also contributed to the design of the park’s railing, paving and stone selection.

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DIMENSIONS
Parks: 3 acres.
Pergola 1: 128 ft long x 15-27 ft wide x 13-15 ft tall
Pergola 2: 90 ft long x 30-36 ft wide x 16-17 ft tall
Pergola 3: 222 ft long x 28-39 ft wide x 14-18 ft tall

LOCATION
North End Parks, The Big Dig, Boston, MA

WORK/CREDITS

Design Landscape Architects:
GGN (Gustafson, Guthrie, Nichol), Seattle, WA

Local Landscape Architects:
CSS (Crosby, Schlessinger, Smallridge), Boston, WA

Architectural Consultant:
Ioana Urma

Photography:
Ioana Urma, except
Images 9 & 10 Construction Photos & Photographers: CSS
Image 10 Groundbreaking (with Mayor Menino & Senator Ted Kennedy): BigDig.com

Drawings:
Ioana Urma (for CSS), except
Image 5 Paving Plan & Image 13 Site Utilities/Footing Plan: Ioana Urma & CSS

Park Rendering:
Neoscape

DATE
2004-2005