Urban Park and Wayfinding Link Boston Neighborhoods

ARTHEAD

Underground is a new urban park situated beneath an I-93 expressway overpass, activating what had been a no-man’s land between Boston’s South End and South Boston neighborhoods. A public/private partnership initiated by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the park was reimagined by architecture firm Landing Studio as a creative way to link the two neighborhoods which are changing now that Boston’s “Big Dig” project is complete. Visual Dialogue, led by principal/design director Fritz Klaetke, developed the branding, a 170-foot long entrance mural, and 22 miles of “wayfinding” stripes to lead visitors into and through the heart of the park.

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Klaetke elaborates: “National Development, the developer behind the neighboring Ink Block residential and mixed-use parcel, became stewards of the project. They hired street artists to bring the walls to life and an event planner to program the space, but needed branding and a way to grab people’s attention. So that’s where we came in. In just a few weeks, we created the branding, mural, interwoven stripes, and various other placemaking elements.

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The overall concept combines parallel lines reflecting the angle of the on-ramp to the elevated expressway with horizontal lines leading into the space. Together the merged lines give a sense of movement and energy, reference construction signs with the black and yellow color scheme, and suggest the flow of traffic, people, water (or a highway striper gone crazy).”

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