How do you successfully brand a new urban neighborhood in one of the oldest cities in America? It takes foresight, planning, creativity — and, yes, a good name. For Boston’s new Bulfinch Crossing, Neoscape and InkHouse looked to the area’s rich history to shape our narrative and find a name that not only creates a new place, but also stitches back together a lost neighborhood.
In this blog series we’re going behind the curtain of Bulfinch Crossing, a mixed-use urban development project we’re working on collaboratively with The HYM Investment Group, LLC, National Real Estate Advisors and InkHouse. Beginning with the name, we’ll take a look at placemaking and how this fits into the vision we are working to achieve. Later on in the series we’ll dig in deeper to look further at the project’s visual identity and take you behind the scenes as we told the story of Bulfinch Crossing through film and virtual reality.
When you create a new place in an old city, finding the right name takes on added significance. We knew that something forced or contrived would never work — especially here in Boston. We needed an identity that is relevant on a civic level, inspired by the local fabric and imbued with history. What National and HYM are creating is a new area that is beautiful and vibrant, filled with people and activity, that hearkens back to the energy and bustle of the old Haymarket Square.
This connection with the past provided a natural starting point for our naming exploration. As both Neoscape and InkHouse hail from Boston, we knew that the local audience would relate to and appreciate a reconnection to the history of this place. And we had at our fingertips a wealth of archival material in which to find the detail and texture we needed to tell our story. We scoured old maps, city plans, and historical documents for elements we could weave into the narrative.
We found that the evolution of Bulfinch Triangle provided us with that context, specifically its original architect: Charles Bulfinch. Known as the first American-born architect, he was born in Boston, and the first building Bulfinch designed was Boston’s Hollis Street Church. (He went on to design a number of other buildings and houses around the city and country, from the State House in Beacon Hill to the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.) His is a history of firsts. Of bold Boston visions and beautifully balanced design. Here was our context and inspiration. And it was here in this very first mixed-use district, planned by the first American-born architect, that neighborhoods and visitors alike converged to create a lively, bustling marketplace. A crossing of people, paths, uses, buildings, and communities? Bulfinch Crossing.
This post is part one in a four-part series on the creation of Bulfinch Crossing. Next, we’ll explore the project’s visual identity and the representation of the brand and its personality.