I’ve been doing a little ground work in Downtown Boston along the Freedom Trail to find material applications for the Salem project. I’m only finding time now to gather my thoughts, and I’d like to share what I’ve found with you. I have been really amazed at all the different styles the line takes, even though the City has used a relatively simple material pallet of mostly brick and granite. Below you will see the different material applications–some traditional and some more high tech. Something to note is that some styles are very integrated into the design and fabric of the public space, while others are minimal and only hold the line. Overall, I think the line of the Freedom Trail is very visible in all applications–which means the City is doing something right.
I was interested to see how the line of the Freedom Trail was integrated into the historic Blackstone District. Here, the trail line was cut into the existing brick, and there is some degradation of the pathway, although it only adds to the charm.
This crosswalk on the greenway gets a lot of wear and tear and isn’t holding up so well.
The painted line is the original form of the trail. It gets the point across, and this allows a continuation of the trail through zones that have not been upgraded with brick and granite.
It takes the guys in Boston less than 7 minutes to install a 10′ section of pavement surface coating, which is actually called aggregate-reinforced thermoplastic. You can watch a video here and learn a bit about the process.
Pavement Surface Coating | Faneuil Hall
The quality of the public spaces in Boston is phenomenal. People want to hang out in these spaces, and there are some very good surface material applications that make these spaces fast or slow. Cobble is harder to walk on, while brick is smooth and level, which makes it a better arterial material.
I threw this image in because it is my new favorite thing! There is a little coffee shop on Broad Street that has a nice parklet in front of it with nice benches and this interesting tree grate system. The grates are brick-sized and integrate with the brick surface while allowing a greater surface area to collect water for the trees. It’s functional and beautiful.
More to come soon!