To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Boston City Hall in 1969, the brutalist icon is set to receive a major renovation by Utile Architecture + Planning and Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects. The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture has already begun a series of small changes and updates to the building with the hope of bringing new life to the commanding structure.
Originally designed by Kallmann, McKinnell, and Knowles, Boston’s brutalist City Hall was widely praised when built, but has since become an underutilized structure in the core of downtown. A comprehensive report conducted through the city’s Public Facilities Department outlined a new planning process to introduce both design and operational improvements to the building. As part of the Boston City Hall and Plaza Study, the improvements would include a top-to-bottom reorganization of the administrative and public service needs of City Hall and its 7-acre plaza.
Major changes that are needed include more office and community space. The report notes the need for upgraded building systems and infrastructure, as well as better accessibility and improved circulation. In recent years, different government departments have moved out of City Hall due to spatial constraints. Utile plans to restructure the upper floors of the building and introduce shared spaces that can be used by different teams, while large-scale meeting rooms and public spaces will remain on the lower floors. Outside, landscape improvements would include a storm water management system, as well as new seating and larger programming areas for sports celebrations and concerts.
While minor improvement projects are already underway, major renovation work on the City Hall interior is expected to begin in 2020.