Hood Bike Park: Pollution Purging Plants

Honor Award

General Design

Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States
Offshoots, Inc.
Client: Hood Park, LLC

This half-acre park packs in tremendous ecological function-tackling onsite pollution while challenging norms related to bike storage. It sets the stage for an inviting space for the community. The multi-modal infrastructure project brings a lot of purpose to a small site while making it alluring and social. What an innovative and fun idea!

- 2023 Awards Jury

Project Credits

Catamount Management Corporation, Client

Trademark Partners, Owner's Project Manager

Elkus Manfredi Architects, Architect

HDLC Architectural Lighting Design, Lighting Designer

McNamara Salvia, Structural Engineer

SMMA, Civil Engineer and Masterplan Designer

SGH, Waterproofing

WSP, Electrical Engineering

WSP, Plumbing Engineer

Haley & Aldrich, Geotechnical Engineer

Pine and Swallow, Soils Consultants

Irrigation Consulting, Irrigation Design

Lee Kennedy, General Contractor

Brightview, Landscape Contractor

Offshoots, Inc., Horticultural Installation

DeAngelis Iron Work, Steel Manufacturer

Trademark Partners OPM, Mark Rosenshein, Architect; Tessa Milard, Architect

Offshoots, Inc. Landscape Architect Team, Kate Kennen, ASLA; Terry Kinsler, ASLA; Shelby Chapman-Hale, ASLA; April Maly

Project Statement

Phytoremediation plants take center stage to mitigate groundwater and highway-generated air pollution at Hood Bike Park, a new half-acre public park and bike commuter hub. This reimagined landscape on the former Hood Milk plant both cleanses’ pollutants and creates a catalyst for the redevelopment of industrial lands. A bike pavilion is tucked under a sloping topography to hide the elevated highway to the west. The topography raises the entire park out of the 2100 coastal flood zone and provides stormwater storage under the lawn to accommodate runoff from future buildings. The integrated architectural forms of the building and landscape frame the ecological plantings, creating a model for resiliency.

Project Narrative

In an industrial part of Boston, a tilted landscape creates an amenity hub for cyclists and a new park focused on reducing pollution. Hood Bike Park provides an urban refuge for Charlestown residents who currently have the second-least amount of green space per capita of any Boston neighborhood. Less than two miles from downtown Boston and within walking distance of regional transit, the project provides 271 interior bike racks, repair services and gender-neutral showers on a planned cycling network, encouraging green commuting. Surrounded by Environmental Justice neighborhoods, Hood Bike Park creates a new pollution-buffering community green while catalyzing redevelopment of the surrounding 50+ acres of industrial land.

A universally accessible path winds together a sloped lawn, street-level stage and a second-floor roof deck; a monumental stair sits on axis with the remnant Hood smokestack. The form of the original Hood Milk bottle inspired the curves of the precast curbs and benches. Night lighting amplifies these forms, with low lighting levels set on a timer, balancing the need for public safety with the needs of urban wildlife. Special consideration was given to material selection to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. For example, all plants were sourced from nurseries located within 300 miles of the site and Cumaru was chosen over Ipe because it is more sustainably forested.

Utilizing three phytoremediation planting typologies, the project mitigates public health hazards:
1) PHYTO Groundwater Buffer: Comprised of deep-rooted Populus spp., native Salix spp. and other water-seeking shrubs, the plants intercept and cleanse shallow groundwater impacted by spills nearby. 2) PHYTO Air Pollution Buffer: Particulate matter generated from the elevated highway is captured in a planted buffer on the bike pavilion’s roof. This ‘Coastal Ledge’ plant community, includes Populus tremuloides, Morella pensylvanica and Juniperus virginiana. These native plants are also well-adapted to high winds, salt-spray, and well-draining soils. 3) PHYTO Bioswale: Inspired by native shorelines, this salt-tolerant phyto community targets nitrogen and phosphorus removal.

In addition to phytoremediation, the plant communities are designed to be low-maintenance, mimic native ecosystems, provide habitat, and mitigate urban heat-island effect. The key design driver was ‘ecological management not maintenance’; the 90% native plant communities are intended to evolve over time, to move and contribute to the native seed bank on and off site. Plants were procured from several different local nurseries to diversify the gene pool and the contract includes horticultural monitoring for 5 years by the design team.

To support the stress-tolerant native plant communities on site, the planting soils are low in fertility with a high PH and avoid nutrient-rich conditions that generate both weeds and contaminated stormwater runoff. The irrigation system is zoned to minimize watering and to be turned off after plant establishment. Doubling as green stormwater infrastructure, the streetscape plantings capture and treat all rainfall on site. The tilted lawn provides stormwater storage and infiltration below and was sized to accommodate future roof runoff that will be generated from surrounding buildings. Hood Bike Park’s pollution-purging topography is an innovative new community gathering space and model for resiliency in a wet and warming post-industrial city.


  • Furniture
    • Universal Litter and Recycling Receptacle - Forms and Surfaces
    • Custom Precast Architectural Concrete Benches - Wausau Tile
  • Drainage/Erosion
    • Area Drain Grate - Jamison by Urban Accessories
    • Slot Drains by Aco
  • Irrigation
    • Paver Pan Manhole Cover by Wundercover
  • Structures
  • Green Roofs/Living Walls
    • Roof Drain Riser Pipe: ZF110-R by Zurn
    • Root Barrier - Biobarrier Root Control by Typar
    • Drainage Mat by Henry
  • Hardscape
    • Custom Precast Architectural Concrete Stairs and Curbs - Wausau Tile
    • Custom Precast Architectural Concrete Paving Bands - Wausau Tile
  • Lighting
    • Pole Lights - Tumbler by Landscape Forms
    • Strip Lights: Pure Flex by LumiNEXT
    • Building Uplights - Tesis In-ground by Erco
    • Marker Lights - Goccia 2.6 by Design Plan

Plant List

  • Achillea millefolium 'Terra Cotta'
  • Agastache foeniculum
  • Allium 'Ambassador'
  • Allium atropurpureum
  • Allium 'Drumstick'
  • Allium 'Globe Master'
  • Allium 'Purple Sensation'
  • Amelanchier laevis 'Lustre'
  • Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'
  • Anemone canadensis
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Asclepias tuberosa
  • Bouteloua gracilis
  • Camassia leichtlinii 'Caerulea'
  • Cammassia 'Esculenta'
  • Carex 'Bunny Blue'
  • Carex pensylvanica
  • Carex vulpinoidea
  • Chionodoxa luciliae 'Alba'
  • Chionodoxa sardensis
  • Chrysogonum virginianum
  • Comptonia peregrina
  • Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'
  • Crocus 'Dorothy'
  • Crocus 'Orange Monarch'
  • Crocus 'Sativus'
  • Dalea purpurea
  • Dennstaedtia punctilobula
  • Deschampsia flexuosa
  • Eragrostis spectabilis
  • Eranthis hyemalis
  • Eryngium yuccifolium
  • Fothergilla x intermedia 'Blue Shadow'
  • Fritillaria 'Crown Imperial'
  • Fritillaria imperialis 'Lutea'
  • Fritillaria meleagris
  • Fritillaria persica
  • Galanthus 'Woronowii'
  • Gaultheria procumbens
  • Geum fragaroides
  • Hamamelis virginiana
  • Hyacinthoides hispanica 'Blue'
  • Hyacinthus orientalis 'White Pearl'
  • Ilex glabra 'Compacta'
  • Ilex glabra 'Gem Box'
  • Ilex verticillata 'Jim Dandy'
  • Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite'
  • Iris reticulata 'Harmony'
  • Iris versicolor
  • Iris versicolor 'Purple Flame'
  • Juniperus virginiana
  • Juniperus virginiana 'Emerald Sentinel'
  • Leucojum aestivum
  • Leucothoe fontanesiana
  • Liatris spicata
  • Liquidambar styraciflua
  • Maianthemum canadense
  • Matteuccia struthiopteris
  • Mitchella repens
  • Muscari armeniacum
  • Muscari atlanticum
  • Myrica gale
  • Myrica pensylvanica
  • Narcissus 'Hawera'
  • Narcissus 'Ice Wings'
  • Nyssa sylvatica
  • Panicum virgatum 'Rotstrahlbusch'
  • Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'
  • Populus grandidentata
  • Populus deltoides
  • Populus X Spp. (Hybrid Poplars)
  • Populus tremuloides
  • Pteridium aquilinum
  • Quercus bicolor
  • Salix discolor
  • Salvia farinacea
  • Schizachyrium scoparium
  • Scilla siberica
  • Sesleria autumnalis
  • Sporobolus heterolepis
  • Verbena bonariensis
  • Viburnum nudum 'Brandywine'
  • Viburnum nudum 'Winterthur'