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Mayor Walsh unveils newly renovated City Hall lobby

Completed renovations to the third floor lobby make City Hall more accessible, welcoming.

Building on Boston's commitment to make City services more accessible, welcoming and efficient, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today unveiled the completed renovation of City Hall's third floor lobby. The lobby, which is the main public entrance to City Hall, underwent extensive renovations that include a welcome desk; new security enhancements; a coffee shop; an accessible and interactive self-service information kiosk capable of multiple language translations; new art installations throughout the building; new millwork and seating; and replacement of interior lighting with energy-efficient LED lights that complement the recently-installed exterior lighting.

"We're dedicated to making Boston City Hall a positive, welcoming experience for all residents, and this renovation is another leap forward," said Mayor Walsh. "City Hall is a historic building that belongs to everyone, and I'm pleased that our renovations improve experiences for all visitors. The operational and architectural enhancements make the building easier to navigate and and will improve service for all of Boston's residents."

"Through this renovation, we have improved and enlivened Boston City Hall and City Hall Plaza," said Chief of Operations Patrick Brophy. "Our strategic investment in all public buildings and open space throughout Boston is designed to improve government efficiency and the public's experience with its valuable infrastructure and resources."

Updates to the lobby include:

  • Welcome desk: A new welcome desk located in the center of the lobby. The welcome desk will be staffed with BOS: 311 greeters and provide information on City department locations. A larger monitor will display the current events calendar and stream City data with information on assorted topics. New lobby signage includes locations of City departments and a touchscreen with a multilingual self-service information kiosk.

  • New self-service kiosks: The self-service touchscreen kiosk will provide users information on the most asked-for services inside and outside of City Hall. Additionally, the kiosk can provide information in six languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Creole/Cape Verdean, Portuguese and Vietnamese. The data coordinates with the City of Boston website for seamless interactions. The new system is easy to update and keep current to meet the public's needs.

  • Sustainable and cost-effective lighting: The lobby lights have been replaced with sustainable LED fixtures that will enliven the space and allow flexible lighting configurations. The fixtures will provide appropriate light levels for the lobby and are aimed to illuminate the light wells, structural beams and multi-level platforms and features of City Hall's lobby. The interior lights will have the ability to change color and intensity to provide program flexibility and will coordinate with the exterior lighting design. Additionally, the lobby's new energy-efficient LED lights have an estimated 20 year life span that will significantly decrease the City's annual operating costs.

  • Improved security: The new security equipment and layout will significantly reduce security lines and wait time for visitors and staff. Security equipment re-positioning allows for a better flow through the lobby.

  • New art installations: With this renovation, Mayor Walsh unveiled four new murals within Boston City Hall. A mural that serves as a backdrop for City Hall weddings faces the City Clerk's office on the sixth floor. Two murals depicting Boston's circles, squares, and corners were installed on the seventh and eighth floors. The fourth installation is located on the ninth floor outside of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. Additionally, a Flag of Valor has been added to the 3rd floor lobby.

"The Boston Preservation Alliance is encouraged and enthusiastic about the investment and new perspective Mayor Walsh and his team have brought to Boston's remarkable City Hall," said Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. "Thanks to work already done, Bostonians are gaining a new appreciation for this important piece of architecture, and we see a growing recognition for the great potential this building holds. Functional and aesthetic enhancements to the building's unique design are happening piece by piece, and this new work on the lobby is a critical step to reintroducing Boston to our award-winning and nationally significant City Hall."

"Upon entry, visitors and staff at City Hall will encounter a light filled lobby with a new information desk, signage and building directory," said Josiah Stevenson FAIA, 2017 Boston Society of Architects President. "These changes, together with the introduction of an innovative, energy efficient system of LED lighting that connects the building's interior and exterior, create a welcoming experience at a pleasing human scale."

The City Hall renovations began in January of 2017. The project cost an estimated $2.1 million. Last month, the City welcomed a local, minority woman-owned Recreo Coffee and Roasterie to Boston City Hall, as the first stage of the new lobby design. In October 2016, Mayor Walsh unveiled Boston City Hall's architectural exterior lighting installation, a permanent fixture to highlight and enhance the building's original design while livening up City Hall Plaza and increasing public safety.

Lobby renovations are part of the City's plan to make City Hall Plaza a more activated, inclusive space for all. Additional projects include "Boston Seasons" which features a summer picnic area on City Hall Plaza and established Boston Winter, a family-friendly winter holiday market and skating path, on City Hall Plaza last winter.

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