Underground Inspiration

Last year, the inaugural SHIFTboston Ideas Competition called on architects, designers, engineers, and others to submit provocative visions “to enhance and electrify the urban experience in Boston.” The competition sponsors weren’t necessarily looking for build-able schemes, but rather for inspiration—for ideas that would engage citizens and galvanize the local design community.

But the winning proposal, announced last month, actually doesn’t seem that far-fetched. The architects Sapir Ng and Andrzej Zarzycki—the former is an associate at Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, the latter an assistant professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology—envisioned a new use for the abandoned Tremont Street Subway tunnel, which runs underneath Boston Common. In their scheme, the tunnel becomes a network of underground cultural venues, including a theater, a cinema, art galleries, and a “media-infused trolley museum.”

What are the chances that such a thing could actually be built? Right now it’s simply too early to tell; according to a press release from Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, “[m]eetings to share details of the plan with politicians and policy makers are currently being scheduled.” Here’s hoping those meetings happen, and that the city’s politicians are canny enough (and/or jealous enough of New York’s High Line) to take Ng and Zarzychi’s proposal seriously.

Read more about the Tremont Underground Theater Space at SHIFTboston.org.

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