PAUL REVERE MALL: LATERAL ENCLOSURE and SPACE OBJECTS

PAUL REVERE MALL: LATERAL ENCLOSURE and SPACE OBJECTS

Paul Revere Mall is a very popular place on the Freedom Trail and has served as an important center, for a wide variety of North End community events. This urban space was created by the transformation of existing streets for cars into a space for purely pedestrian use. This drawing shows the importance of the wall defining the continuity of the lateral enclosure of urban space. The objects in this space: benches, trees, lighting lanterns, potted plantings and the fountain (shown later in this blog) are properly designed and arranged. In addition, a visual and functional pedestrian connection is created between landmark buildings on the north and south edges: (1) St. Stevens Church by architect Charles Bulfinch on Hanover Street and(2)the celebrated Old North Church on Salem Street.

The noise and speed of street traffic (on the north and south edges) is not a threat to the secure feeling of daily users of this urban space. Rather, they are positive spatial experiences because of a well defined lateral enclosure. The enclosure combined with good "people places" creates: (1) a sense of belonging, (2) a feeling of security and (3)a human scale that is enjoyed by the daily users, in each of the four New England seasons. Hence,it is one of the most successful public urban spaces in Boston. The author executed an analysis of the design principles of Paul Revere Mall and were applied them to the redesign of Boston City Hall Plaza.

Gordon Cullen mentioned, in his book "TOWNSCAPE", makes a point that applies to this particular public urban space very well "This is the end product of traffic, this is the place to which traffic brings you to. Without enclosure traffic becomes nonsense."

copyright George Kelso

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