Skip to content
Detail of poster

The School of Architecture congratulates Cyrus Dahmubed (M.ARCH 2018), Will Langevin (M.Arch 2018) and Florencia Lima-Gomez (BS ARCH 2017) for winning the Graduate Humanities and Arts Award at the 2017 R.I.S.E. event held on April 12. The Research, Innovation and Scholarship Expo (R.I.S.E.) is an annual event that brings together industry leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers and technology enthusiasts. There are over 100 judges from a wide range of fields that meet with the participants to discuss their projects and to award those that excel in their discipline.

Will and Cyrus, and Florencia are all enrolled in ARCH 5210: Comprehensive Design Studio. They are working as a team in this capstone class, which itself is interdisciplinary in that Urban Landscape students are paired with Architecture students. The work they have been doing in this studio lead to the project they presented at R.I.S.E., entitled Rising with the Tides: Saving Boston from Sea Level Rise with a New Eco-District. In their project, they look at how to incorporate a plan for rising sea levels that relies on natural interventions to accommodate change.

When asked about their experience at the Expo, team member Will Langevin noted, “R.I.S.E. affirmed the value of architecture as a truly multidisciplinary field. The event provided us the opportunity to connect with others who not only understood the value of our research, but could engage with us to help further advance the physical, ecological and social impact of our work on an even broader scale.”


By 2113 Boston will experience sea level rise and storm surges ten feet above current high tides resulting in catastrophic urban inundation, the need for coastal retreat, and billions of dollars of economic losses.  At particular risk is a vast swath of the city historically known as South Bay, stretching from Carson Beach to Northeastern University, and from Fort Point Channel to Upham’s Corner.  This zone has been filled over the last four centuries, creating dense neighborhoods, commercial corridors, and an infrastructural/industrial district that is, in many ways, the lifeblood of the region and is at high risk of decimation from coastal flooding.

Against this threat, a simple grass may hold the key to survival. Cordgrass (spartina sp.) is the keystone species of the salt marshes that once lined the pre-urbanized Atlantic coast.  Its unique ability to thrive in polluted salt water and serve as the foothold for productive and protective ecosystems can be capitalized on to re-create Boston’s at-risk infrastructural zone into a resilient eco-district.  Architectural interventions designed to foster rapid sediment accrual and idealize growth conditions will permit the plant to build its own land in prescribed corridors that will effectively function as a system of self-growing sea walls whose heights will always preempt those of the rising seas.  Within one hundred years this system of ecological infrastructure will have grown to defend Boston’s most vulnerable areas from rising tides while creating an expansive civic amenity and a responsible, resilient way of life.