City Hall Plaza (Boston)
City Hall Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts, is a large, open, unadorned public space in the Government Center area of the city. The architectural firm Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles designed the plaza in 1962 to accompany Boston's new City Hall. The multi-level, irregularly-shaped plaza consists of red brick and concrete. As of March 2011, plans are underway to redesign the plaza and adjacent building.
Design and construction, 1962-1968
The siting of the plaza, the City Hall and other structures in Government Center was the responsibility of I. M. Pei, commissioned by Edward J. Logue, then of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The plaza and City Hall were constructed between 1963 and 1968, on the former site of Scollay Square, which despite its vibrancy and historical interest, was considered a seedy and undesirable area.
Life in the plaza, 1968-present
Reaction to the plaza has been mixed. Some praise City Hall Plaza for being cleaner and more desirable than Scollay Square, and for the simple fact that it was built at all—with the cooperation and compromises necessary of any complex, multi-agency government construction project. Others dislike City Hall Plaza, citing unappealing aesthetics; and saying it does not function well as a space for people, due to cold, wet and wind in winter, and wind, dust, and unrelenting sun and heat in summer. The Project for Public Spaces ranked it at the top of the organization's list of Squares Most Dramatically in Need of Improvement in the United States in 2005.
Since City Hall Plaza opened in 1968, ideas for improvements to the public space have been put forth by citizens, students, architects, politicians and others.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has voiced several ideas for changing the plaza. In 2007, Emerson College students used the virtual world Second Life to re-imagine a better City Hall Plaza; the project was sponsored by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, among others.
- Brattle Street (Boston, Massachusetts)
- Cornhill, Boston
- Edward J. Logue
- Scollay Square
- Urban design
- Village green
- Casey Ross. A 10-year plan for City Hall Plaza: New incremental approach starts with remodeled T station, trees. Boston Globe, March 16, 2011
- What do you think should be done to City Hall Plaza? Boston Globe, March 16, 2011
- O'Connor, Thomas H. (1993), Building a new Boston, Boston: Northeastern University Press, ISBN 1-55553-161-X, 155553161X
- Laurel Ulrich (1970), A beginner's Boston, [Cambridge, Mass
- Robert J. Allison (2004), A short history of Boston, Beverly, Mass: Commonwealth Editions, ISBN 1-889833-47-9, OCLC 53324893, 1889833479
- The good city: writers explore 21st century Boston. 2004; p.4.
- Lawrence W. Kennedy (1992), Planning the City upon a Hill (Planning the city upon a hill ed.), Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, ISBN 0-87023-780-2, 0870237802
- Anne Whiston Spirn (August 1, 1985), The Granite Garden, Urban Nature and Human Design, Basic Books, ISBN 978-0-465-02706-4, 0465027067
- Project for Public Spaces
- Colin Rhinesmith. Collaborative Design in One Virtual World: Using Second Life to Re-imagine City Hall Plaza. 2007.
- Published in the 2010s
- Andrew Ryan. Maligned for decades, City Hall Plaza to get EPA-aided makeover. Boston Globe. Sep 9, 2010. pg. B.3
- A softer City Hall: Architects offer visions for less-austere City Hall Plaza; Young architects offer visions for turning plaza into something a bit more welcoming Boston Globe. Apr 4, 2010. pg. G.1
- Published in the 2000s
- Peter J. Howe. Mayor has new spin for City Hall Plaza; Menino wants to explore wind turbine installation. Boston Globe, Sep 29, 2007. pg. A.1.
- Christina Pazzanese. Some small things could pretty up City Hall Plaza. Boston Globe, Sep 16, 2007. pg. 2.
- Matt Viser. Fount of futility finally runs dry; City Hall Plaza eyesore gets a concrete solution. Boston Globe, June 9, 2006. pg. B.1.
- Jack Thomas. 'I wanted something that would last': At 89, an architect stands by his plan for City Hall after four decades of both condemnation and praise. Boston Globe. October 13, 2004.
- Talk about City Hall Plaza. Boston Globe, Apr 12, 2003. pg. A.10.
- Thomas C. Palmer Jr. Effort to improve City Hall Plaza gets new life, group expected to deliver recommendations next year. Globe Staff. Boston Globe, Oct 1, 2002. pg. D.1.
- Sarah Schweitzer. An unfulfilled urban promise; Menino resurrects a plan to renovate City Hall Plaza. Boston Globe, Aug 8, 2002. pg. B.1.
- Robert F. Walsh. Some lessons on upkeep at City Hall Plaza. Boston Globe, Apr 15, 2002. pg. A.17.
- Improving City Hall Plaza. Boston Globe, Jul 17, 2000. pg. A.10.
- Published in the 1990s
- Anthony Flint. City Hall Plaza to get $27.5M renovation. Boston Globe, Dec 17, 1999. pg. B.3.
- A refuge on City Hall Plaza. Boston Globe, Dec 17, 1999. pg. A.26.
- Anthony Flint. City Hall Plaza redesign is OK'd; modest makeover to be announced. Boston Globe. Boston, Mass.: Dec 15, 1999. pg. A.38.
- Published in the 1960s
- Walter Muir Whitehill. Boston: a topographical history, 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to City Hall Plaza (Boston).|
- Project for Public Spaces
- Kallman McKinnell & Wood Architects
- One citizen's hope for the barren wasteland of Boston City Hall Plaza. YouTube, 2007.
- Re-Imagining Boston City Hall Plaza Using Second Life. YouTube, 2007.
- YouTube. Video of City Hall Plaza
- Kevin McCrea exposes Mayor Menino giving away 300 million dollars at City Hall Plaza. YouTube, 2009.
- Urban Toronto. Discussion thread about Boston's City Hall.
- Flickr. Photos of City Hall Plaza