jbba jersey barrier bench attachment


this project is generously funded by the LEF Foundation's Public Art, Architecture and Design Grant
many thanks to the Artists Foundation for sponsorship and support


Photo-collage showing existing conditions of future north end park/freedom trail.

Jersey barriers were originally developed to divide multi-lane highways in New Jersey. These barriers were intended to minimize damage to vehicles, and to prevent them from veering into oncoming traffic and causing fatal, head-on collisions. Today the barriers, which are also known as K-rails, have evolved in both form and function, but the original Jersey barrier design and use are still in high demand. The barriers are used on construction sites, to block off restricted areas, and more recently, to create a safe distance between surface streets and vehicles and sensitive sites and monuments. Because government buildings and historic monuments are now protected in this way, the barriers which restrict vehicle intrusion also render these important civic places unattractive and unfriendly for pedestrians. As what started as a temporary safety measure becomes increasingly more permanent, widespread, and unavoidable, a new way to reinterpret these barriers for the benefit of the pedestrian population has become critical.

One way to render these temporary barriers more useful and inviting is to work with their design to create street furniture as versatile and temporary as the Jersey barriers themselves. The Jersey barrier bench attachment (JBBA) is conceptually designed to invite residents, tourists, office workers on their lunch breaks, and other urban pedestrians to take advantage of these usually hostile intrusions. Both sides of the bench comfortably seat four to five people, depending on the length of the Jersey barrier. The design and materials of the bench have been selected for maximum utility and longevity. The bench hangs from the Jersey barrier, using its weight and mass to cantilever and support the seats. The metal frame is lightweight, transportable, and strong. The slatted wood bench design is taken from traditional picnic and park benches to inspire welcoming familiarity. The high, sloping cross-section of the barrier becomes a secure and comfortable place to relax, contemplate, and people watch. The bench transforms the Jersey barrier from a spatial divider to a social connector.

before and after: john fitzgerald expressway (* potential sites for temporary installation).

The proposed site has been specially chosen for its busy pedestrian traffic, from local residents and office workers to national and international tourists. Its historical character will also add context to the concept of the project. This site is part of the Freedom Trail and was originally underneath the Fitzgerald Expressway, which separated the North End district from Downtown Boston in the same way a Jersey barrier divides a highway. This location is now the site for future North End Park. The Jersey barriers currently in use on the construction site could be recycled and strategically re-installed with JBBA's as a temporary public art installation once the park is complete or near completion. The goal for the Jersey barrier benches on this specific site is for them to become symbols of its recent urban renewal and remnants of the barrier that formerly divided the city.

basic jersey barrier specifications and preliminary concept design drawing.