99 Marginal Street: 9 Strategies for Landing Industry in the City

Distances between places around the world are being dematerialized by constantly diversifying and quickening modes of transportation and distribution of people, materials, and information. These global flows, however, still land in local places. As cities grow denser with people, infrastructure, and this bombardment of global connection, the frictions between competing interests for finite territory is heightened, particularly at the urban waterfront where global flows meet local shores.

The urban waterfront cannot continue to be framed by singular either/or designs that isolate one use from the next. Despite inherent spatial and temporal dynamism and diverse value, most recent attention in urban and landscape design has focused on ‘reclaiming’ post-industrial urban waterfronts as recreational extensions of the urban fabric—trading one singular use for another. Through this transformation, the productive and infrastructural capacity of these land- scapes, and consequently the city, is lost.

Formerly a 13 million gallon oil and asphalt batching terminal, 99 Marginal is the site of a 100,000 ton kinetic salt pile across the street from one of New England’s densest residential neighbor- hoods—at the margin of the global infrastructure of the sea and the neighborhood fabric of the city. These things do not naturally ‘fit.’

99:9 confronts the discrepancy between the seemingly scaleless dimensions of industry and the specific dimensions of place, drawing from an eight-year project to transform an industrial waterfront site into a new model of shared use active marine industry and public recreation. 99:9 compiles nine strategies of analysis, design and building that conflate local interests with global systems and translate prohibitive conflicts into productive frictions.

Landing Studio is an architecture, design and research practice whose work negotiates the intersection of large scale global infrastructure in urban environments. Since 2005, Landing Studio has developed projects with port facilities and transit infrastructure entities in Boston and New York through the design of shared industrial/public park landscapes, light installations, festivals, exhibitions, tours, and industrial/community operations agreements. Dan and Marie Law Adams (MArch '06) are the founding partners of Landing Studio. Dan is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Landscape program at Northeastern University. Marie is a Lecturer at Northeastern University and the Rhode Island School of Design, and a registered architect. Their collaborators at Landing Studio are Philip Chaney and Alysoun Wright.

Fabrication: rukamathu.smith