Melding the hi-tech with the historic to create a visionary new hub on Boston's Charles River
Athenahealth’s hi-tech and progressive vision for a historic 29-acre site in Watertown, Ma., known as the Arsenal on the Charles, is at the heart of this sweeping master plan; the design recasts an array of industrial buildings, steeped in military history, as technological hubs that will galvanize innovators. The Arsenal on the Charles’ transformation will be circumspect: a grand, corporate concept balanced by a civic framework. It is conceived as a thriving IT campus abuzz with multifarious activities from business to shopping, amid 19th century structures—that originally stored and manufactured munitions—and modern architectural interventions. The diverse amenities will serve the project’s private-public partnership, developing the community, connection, and holism that underpin its success. The Arsenal rose from its categorization as a Superfund site in the 1970s—at one time home to federal materials research—to a place on the U.S.’s Nation’s Register of Historic Places. Now parking spaces can be reinvigorated by new landscapes and pedestrian pathways: threaded among the historic brick buildings and along the Charles River to create vistas and vibrant gathering places. In approximately five years, the existing structures will be animated by novel interventions to support athenahealth’s headquarters and its mission. Artists, entrepreneurs, farmers, and hi-tech employees among others will intermingle to raise the project above an office park to a public resource and destination for residents of Watertown, Boston, Cambridge and beyond.