The site is at the intersection of a fine-grained residential neighborhood oriented on a northeast-southwest grid and a strip of larger footprint commercial and institutional buildings and expansive surface parking lots that run along the Charles River. This plan will build on the existing residential fabric of Cambridgeport, extending both streets and housing typologies to Memorial Drive. Streets will converge in a new park. Microcenter and Trader Joe’s will be consolidated into a new, signature mixed-use building.
Like Louisberg Square in Beacon Hill, Shell Square creates an intimate public yard for surrounding apartments and a green oasis for passive recreation. Large, setback apartment buildings with raised courtyards create an airy expanse along Memorial Drive. Bike lanes, planters, and parallel parking provide a buffer zone between pedestrians and fast moving traffic on Memorial Drive.