Boston – The city of Boston and Shawmut Design and Construction broke ground on a renovation to Boston City Hall Plaza. Beginning with phase one, the project will deliver updated civic spaces and programming capabilities, as well as additional infrastructure to make the plaza a welcoming, everyday destination.
The seven-acre plaza is one of the city’s largest civic spaces and for the last 50 years has hosted notable events ranging from sports celebrations and political rallies to seasonal cultural festivals.
The plaza design and implementation is led by global design firm Sasaki, based in Watertown. Shawmut Design and Construction is the construction manager. The project is managed through the city’s Operations Cabinet by the Public Facilities Department in partnership with the Property Management Department and is assisted by the owner’s project manager, Skanska USA.
City Hall Plaza’s redesign includes a focus on a welcoming front yard for civic life. 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 to the public, allowing easier access to the building.
The renovation includes creating seven new “plug and play” locations for community groups to utilize, with space for 10,000 – 12,000 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.
“This renovation is designed to turn our seven-acre space into a welcoming, accessible space for all,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “City Hall Plaza is one of Boston’s most-used public spaces, and we are working hard to create safe areas for residents to gather as we strengthen our commitment to civic services in our city.”
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.