City Hall Plaza renovation
The seven-acre plaza is one of the City’s largest civic spaces. For the last 50 years, it has hosted events ranging from sports celebrations and political rallies to seasonal cultural festivals. Mayor Walsh is investing in City Hall Plaza to move toward a more accessible, sustainable, and comfortable shared space for all Bostonians and visitors.PROJECT TEAM
This project is currently in design. It is being managed, designed, and implemented by:
- the City’s Operations Cabinet
- the Public Facilities Department
- the Property Management Department
- Sasaki, a global design firm based in the Boston area (Design Lead), and
- Skanska USA, a global project development and construction group (City's project manager).
A contractor will be selected once the design is completed.BACKGROUND
This first phase of the project builds on the principles set forth by:
- the Rethink City Hall Master Planning Study, led by Utile and Reed Hilderbrand
- the historical legacy of the original design, and
- recent experiments on the plaza over the last five years, including Boston Seasons, Lunch on the Lawn, the City Hall lobby renovation, and the exterior lighting installation.
The success of Boston Seasons on City Hall Plaza — including Boston Winter and The Patios — has shown the space’s potential. It has also shown the need for infrastructure improvements and system upgrades to sustain events of all sizes. This includes work to improve accessibility and access to power, water, and data. We want to ensure long-term success for the City, event organizers, and vendors.
Phase 1 of the project will deliver updated civic spaces and programming capabilities, as well as add infrastructure that will make the Plaza more sustainable, including connecting Congress and Cambridge Streets with an accessible sloped Promenade activated by 21st century civic amenities like shady seating and gathering areas, a destination play space, public art space and an iconic water feature.
A WELCOMING FRONT YARD FOR CIVIC LIFE
With Boston's renovated City Hall Plaza, this community space will become universally accessible for residents of all abilities. Opening up the Plaza for all will include re-opening the second floor of City Hall Plaza to the public, allowing easier access to the building. This public-facing entrance was closed in 2001, and will open again under the new renovation plan. The renovation also includes 3,000 new welcoming spaces for residents to sit, 12,000 square feet of playscapes for children and families, and 11,000 square feet of terraces for pop-up play and interactive public art.
FLEXIBLE AND ACCOMMODATING EVENT VENUES
Boston City Hall Plaza renovation will right-size one of Boston's largest event spaces, and create civic event spaces that can be used by all Boston residents. The renovation includes creating seven new "plug and play" locations for community groups to utilize, with space for 10,000 - 12,0000 visitors on the main Plaza, and room for a 20,000 - 25,000 person gathering on the entire Plaza. The new design will also include three smaller event and gathering places, and a new civic building on Congress Street, equipped with a bathroom and other facilities to support public gatherings.
A MODEL OF SUSTAINABILITY AND RESILIENCE
Creating a sustainable City Hall Plaza that meets the City's environmental goals is one of the key parts of the Plaza renovation, and this renovation will make City Hall Plaza one of Boston's signature civic spaces environmentally sustainable, meeting Boston's resilience standards. The renovation includes an increase in permeable surfaces that will soak up stormwater, planning ahead for severe weather in downtown Boston. The design also includes 100 new trees, improving the shade, scale and air quality of the Plaza. Fifty lights will be replaced with efficient LED technology, and 22,500 feet of granite and brick paving will be reused or recycled.