Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion and Carousel

Courtesy of Jane Messinger
Exit fullscreen
Exit map

This strategic adaptation of a block of the Rose Fitzgerald Greenway pairs a National Park Service education pavilion with a new carousel inspired by children’s illustrations of regional animals. New plantings and revised circulation strategies shape a new center of activity for a quickly emerging urban corridor.

The National Park Service and the Boston Harbor Islands Alliance jointly commissioned this educational and recreational landscape. A raised and slightly crowned lawn parcel frames a series of ultra-thin cast-concrete shell structures designed by Utile. These open-air buildings facilitate the public’s interactions park rangers and ticketing for the Harbor Islands ferry. During rain storms, these shells overflow and cascade into a granite splash block. Rainwater feeds the site’s urban landscape, including a dense and diverse canopy of trees providing shade for pedestrians, and food and cover for birds. Granite block seats shelter visitors from Greenway traffic and focus attention on interpretive signage around the pavilion.

The adjacent Greenway Carousel and Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove offer a highly desirable destination amenity surrounded by comfortable public seating. The Carousel features fourteen different characters native to the land, sea and sky of Boston Harbor, including a sea turtle, three types of butterflies, a peregrine falcon, a harbor seal, and a whale, created by Newburyport artisan Jeff Briggs. The gardens in the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove that surround the Greenway Carousel create a beautiful, welcoming environment with four season plantings, comfortable seating and filtered shade.

The Harbor Islands Pavilion and Carousel Grove project demonstrates that modest, incremental adaptations to the urban fabric at key locations can have enormous impact.


Boston, MA




0.5 acres




  • Merit Award for Parks, Boston Society of Landscape Architects
  • Honor Award for Design Excellence, Boston Society of Architects
  • The American Architecture Award, The Chicago Athenaeum & The European Centre