P.O.R.T.: Publicly Organized / Privately Owned, Recreation Territory
Chelsea, MA | 2006-Present

The PORT (Publicly Organized Recreation Territory) is the conversion of a 13 million gallon oil tank farm into a shared-use waterfront road-salt terminal, public recreation area, and wildlife habitat landscape. The PORT is a new model for balancing local and regional interests for the working waterfront by integrating both active industry and public access.

The project received a Progressive Architecture Award in 2013, was an Architizer A+ award finalist in 2015, a Waterfront Center Award in 2015, the WAN Landscape Award in 2016, and the 2017 AIA Regional and Urban Design Award.

 

 
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The PORT provides both year-round public recreation space and a seasonal expansion area when the salt operations are dormant in the summer. The seasonally shared zone is used for stockpiling and distributing 100,000 tons of salt in the winter, and is converted to public waterfront active recreation and event space in the summer. 

 
 

Many of the physical structures of the oil terminal are recycled for new public uses, incorporating the language of the surrounding working waterfront into the public landscape. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

The industrial operations were designed to improve the everyday relationship between the city and the working waterfront. For example, different salt stockpiling scenarios based on varying quantities of salt are designed to preserve views from the neighborhood to the waterfront.

 
 
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The planting design directly translates the industrial processes of mounding and sculpting for salt storage based on angle of repose into mounded hedgerows of plantings that both frame views to the waterfront and variably filter views of the industrial operations.