Kendall Square is uniquely situated between established, historically working-class, residential neighborhoods, the Charles River, the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and physical remnants of an industrial past. Kendall Square and portions of eastern Cambridge have undergone a significant amount of physical change over the past several decades as land uses continue to transition from an industrial and manufacturing focus to high tech, and innovation based businesses, expanded institutional facilities, new housing, and new commercial establishments.
Over the last ten years development activity in the area has continued to feature new housing, commercial space, institutional expansion, and significant infrastructure improvements. As a result of zoning agreements between developers, property owners, neighborhood groups, and the City of Cambridge, over five acres of new and renovated open space will be created, primarily at four locations, in the vicinity of Kendall Square and Eastern Cambridge.
The intent of this competition was to create a comprehensive open space Framework for Kendall Square and Eastern Cambridge that would help determine the character and role of the four new public open spaces; strategies for potential connections, programming and placemaking; and guidelines for decision making and evaluations of future open spaces that are part of private developments, in order to ultimately facilitate the creation of an open space network that further promotes the innovative character of the area, and helps to create a sense of place and community.
The Jury discussed the merits of each proposal and their collective understanding of the “framework” and how it would best serve the City of Cambridge. Through this evaluation, the Jury selected the proposal by Richard Burck Associates as the submittal that best meets the intention of the Planning and Design Goals and provides a true framework for the ongoing design and development of Kendall Square’s public realm.