Boston City Hall Plaza Study

Urban Design

Client: Boston Redevelopment Authority
Date: 2010
Role: Project team member [with Utile]
Location: Boston, MA

From Utile’s website:
“Utile led a team of architects, planners, landscape architects, engineers, and regulatory experts that was tasked with proposing “realistic greening options that could be implemented in the near-term” for Boston’s City Hall Plaza. The consultant team, which consisted of Utile, Reed Hilderbrand, Durand & Anastas Environmental Strategies, and Nitsch Engineering, was awarded one of five projects under the Greening America’s Capitals initiative, a new program of the EPA-HUD-DOT Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The study prioritizes a full range of strategies that can improve the open space, including a much-improved stormwater runoff solution, landscape strategies that increase summer shade and reduce the heat island effect, new urban connections that improve bicycle and pedestrian access, and other physical adjustments that will result in a thoughtfully transformed civic space.

Through a three-day workshop in December 2010—which brought together experts in landscape architecture, civil engineering, stormwater management, energy design, transportation, and government officials—the team presented a thorough analysis of the existing conditions and a menu of opportunities for improving the performance of the open space. Two framework plans were generated that could serve as a template for future phased design contracts. Both schemes leveraged existing on-going projects, including the new MBTA station and the realignment of Cambridge Street, and sought to clarify the grading in the immediate proximity of City Hall and the redesigned MBTA subway headhouse. Both scenarios also proposed a much more robust tree planting concept along the narrowed and realigned Cambridge Street edge: three staggered rows of trees between the curb and the existing free-standing colonnade.”

As a result of this work, Utile was named the master planners for City Hall Plaza by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, to work closely with Reed Hilderbrand Associates and Alex Krieger of NBBJ.

Read the whole report here.

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