Davis Square Pin-Up Ideas: 4 of 7

Pin-Up Ideas31

This is the fourth of seven posts covering all of the ideas generated at the Somerville by Design: Davis Square Design Charrette that was held September 9-11, 2013. We have numbered all of the images so that it is easier to reference them when providing feedback.

You can send us feedback two ways: first, you can discuss a specific idea online by leaving a comment at the bottom of this blog post. Second, you can provide feedback using a feedback form that you can download (Pin-Up Feedback Form) and mail back to us using the address below. The form is designed to facilitate feedback for all of the ideas generated (over 45 in total) and should be used for all of the forthcoming blog posts, not just this one.

Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development
c/o Somerville by Design
93 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143

All of the images on this post can be downloaded as a .pdf here: Pin-Up Ideas 4

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Concept 23

This aerial sketch brings many of those aspirations to life.  The parking lot itself is shown as a well-designed urban plaza.  A canopy is imagined in the center of the space, which could potentially support open-air market-type activities.  A small monument is shown on the west end, where Elm Street and Summer Street split, to help draw foot traffic from the core of Davis Square.  This sketch preserves automobile and bus traffic on Summer Street, although other design ideas have suggested reclaiming the roadway for additional plaza space.

The corner of Elm, Russell and Cutter is framed by new buildings and the restored steeple of the historic church.  On the surface parking lot adjacent to Citizens Bank, a modestly-scaled townhouse building is shown.  This type of residential use would promote safety in the new civic space, with many windows facing the plaza and new residents providing evening and weekend foot traffic.  On the left side of the image, a traditionally-designed four-story mixed use building is shown on Dominoes / Wing Works property.  The building extends right up to the sidewalk on Cutter Avenue, to enclose the civic space and create visual friction for drivers approaching the corner of Elm, Russell and Cutter.

Pin-Up Ideas33 Pin-Up Ideas34 Pin-Up Ideas35

Concept 24

This perspective sketch imagines an adaptive re-use of the iconic Winter Hill Bank building along with infill development of the portion of the privately-owned VFW parking lot fronting on Summer Street.   A small, independent hotel operator might find the unique configuration of building space shown here to be an asset.

In the foreground of the image, a three-story building is shown replacing the Dominoes Pizza building, creating an attractive edge for the new civic space imagined at Cutter Plaza.

Possible architectural floor plans and a site plan for were explored to understand the feasibility of the concept as well.


  1. Rosemary Broome-Bingham

    I think the Winter Hill Bank site would be great for a hotel — imagine flying into Logan, T to Davis, then walking up the newly-pedestrianized Elm street past the bars and restaurants to the hotel. I can picture that in Davis Square.

  2. Jeff R.

    I agree that this area is due for revitalization. Re-use of the Winter Hill Bank is a great opportunity, as are the sites that are dominated by surface parking. A hotel would be fine, but there is still a strong need for more housing.

    Since “Cutter Square” is right on the edge where Davis transitions from commercial to residential, it is important to make sure that new development reflects that transition in scale and design. (The new building at the corner of Cutter and Summer is OK, but I hope we can do better with future designs …)

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