City Hall Plaza renovation in Boston, MA

We can expect to see public art + an "iconic water feature" by the building. | Rendering via City of Boston

We can expect to see public art + an “iconic water feature” by the building. | Rendering via City of Boston

We asked you which ongoing city construction has you curious, and the answer was overwhelmingly City Hall Plaza. Here’s what to know about the ambitious renovation plans.

The background:

City Hall is our city’s biggest example of brutalist architecture. As the name suggests, this style can seem a bit intimidating, which prompted Boston to reinvent the plaza around the building. The goal is to make the community space more accessible + welcoming.

The new look for the seven-acre plaza (located by the Government Center T stop) was announced in 2019. Boston-based global design firm Sasaki is taking charge of the updated “People’s Plaza.”

Inspiration for the fresh look came from experiments over the last five years, including Lunch on the Lawn and the Boston Seasons beer garden.

The plans:

Multiple paths and entrances are in the works to help pave the way towards civic engagement. The new main entrance will open up the currently inaccessible stairs and add some much needed seating around the plaza. There will also be two additional gateways at Congress + Cambridge streets.

We can also look forward to new elements like:

  • A “destination playspace” by the north entry.
  • An updated speaker’s corner for mayoral addresses + flag raisings.
  • A new civic pavilion on Congress Street (with public restrooms).

Plus, the City is going green and meeting resilience standards by adding more permeable surfaces to soak up stormwater, planting 100 new trees + installing more efficient LED lighting.

When will we get to experience these upgrades? Crews broke ground on the first phase of construction in July of 2020, initially sharing an expected turnaround time of two years we’re staying tuned for progress updates.