Plenty of people have tried, with varying degrees of success, to convince Bostonians that their famous—and famously hated—city hall is a good building. But nothing may be as transformative in shifting the public’s perception as the renovation of its surrounding plaza, to be unveiled in 2022.
1968年，波士顿市政厅广场与市政厅大楼一同落成，广场建筑造型灵感来源于意大利锡耶纳的坎波广场（Piazza del Campo），甚至呈放射状延伸的地砖铺装也一脉相承。广场是由著名建筑师贝聿铭与市政厅的建筑师们所设计，并未有任何景观设计师参与。《英雄气概：混凝土建筑与新波士顿》一书的作者之一帕斯尼克（Mark Pasnik）评价道：“劣势在于建筑设计过于纸上谈兵，这种疏忽导致了一个灰秃秃、尺度过大且过于粗犷的硬景，而这与波士顿的日常气息格格不入”。
Completed alongside the building in 1968, Boston City Hall Plaza was modeled after Siena, Italy’s Piazza del Campo, right down to its radial banding and brick expanse. It was designed, however, by I. M. Pei and the building architects. No landscape architect was ever involved. “I think that’s one of the shortcomings of the project was designed by architects on napkin sketches,” says Mark Pasnik, a principal at the Boston-based multidisciplinary design firm Over Under and the coauthor of Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston. The oversight resulted in a desolate and overscaled hardscape that ultimately, Pasnik says, is “too gestural and not consistent with the life of the city on a day-to-day basis.”
The plaza has suffered its share of neglect as well. The few trees included in the original design have been removed, and the depressed fountain in the northwest corner was turned off in 1977. All of this has contributed to the feeling that city hall is an inhumane and foreboding place, Pasnik says — a feeling that’s been displaced onto the architecture of the building. Pasnik, a consultant for the redesign, has spoken with dozens, if not hundreds, of people about Boston City Hall for various projects over the years, and “the [most common] response we get,” he says, “is, ‘I hate the building,’ and then we’d talk to them more, and they say, ‘Well, it’s really the plaza that’s the problem.'”
Even the Cultural Landscape Foundation has acknowledged the shortcomings of the original design. Despite including the plaza in its 2008 Landslide program—which calls attention to endangered works of significant landscape design—the organization made special note of its various failings, stating that the “scale and unrelieved nature of the plaza…has led many to call for changes that might humanize it, introduce more greenery, and make it a better defined and more welcoming place in the heart of the city.”
Sasaki led and conducted the renovation plan to address the design issues of the city hall plaza. After nearly five years, the plaza reopened to the public with a brand-new look in November 2022, much to the anticipation of the Bostonians. The new plaza features 250 new trees, which provide shade for people to stay cool and help improve the plaza’s resilience. An adventure playground, a fountain platform and multiple art venues for gatherings, and 2540 square feet of vegetated space are added to the new plaza. While retaining much of the plaza’s original geometry and materiality, the design team divided the plaza into several smaller and more human-scaled areas. The plaza still has a 25000-person capacity to host the large events such as festivals and concerts.
The redesign, led by Sasaki, certainly introduces more greenery. More than 100 trees and 27,233 square feet of vegetated space are being added to the plaza, along with an adventure playground, a raised gathering space where the fountain was, and multiple venues for art. It also carves the plaza into a number of smaller, more human-scaled spaces while retaining much of the plaza’s original geometry and materiality.
More important than any one architectural detail is the relationship between the plaza and the building, which was meant to be porous. Though increased security protocols following 9/11 prevent a free flow of people through the building. Pasnik says the plaza redesign strengthens this relationship by reopening the north entrance and creating an accessible entrance to the fourth-floor courtyard. “While it’s a change to the building, it’s actually closer to the original intent than the current use patterns allowed,” he says.
Mayor Michelle Wu took to the podium to speak to the importance of City Hall Plaza’s new design. “The spaces we build are a reflection of our city and our values,” she remarked, “and thanks to these incredible collaborations, we have built something here that embodies our vision for Boston, and builds on the legacies that we inherit from those that came before.” One of the participants of the opening ceremony also noted how the addition of greenery, a large playscape, ample seating, and fully-accessible navigation added a human side to the historic space.
设计团队完整名单：Andrew Sell, Anna Scherling, Ashley Pelletier, Christopher Ng-Hardy, David Morgan, Ekaterina Trosman, Garrett Craig-Lucas, Gina Mosca, Jared Barnett, Jason Ng, Jingzhi Fan, Kelly Farrell, Kenneth Goulding, Lishunxiang Luo, Liwei Shen, Luis Cetrangolo, Lucca Townsend, Mario Ghosn, Marissa Lisec, Marta Lucila Rosso, Mark Dawson, Mauricio Gomez, Michael Frechette, Mille Pradhan, Nathaniel Crosby, Robert Titus, Rong Cong, Scott Penman, Sophie Bellemare, Stephanie Morris, Steven Engler, Stephen Lacker, Thiyagarajan Adi Raman, Theodor Stojani, Victor Vizgaitis, Victoria Steven, Zachary Chrisco
结构：Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc (SGH)
景观：Pine & Swallow Environmental, The Cultural Landscape Foundation
照明：Lam Partners, Inc.
MEP系统：ARUP – New York City
成本顾问：Ellana Construction Consultants
防火安全：Code Red Consultants
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