A transformed Boston City Hall Plaza reopened to the public to music, speeches, confetti, and many rides down the new playground’s popular slide. City Hall Plaza will now live up to its intended role as the civic heart of Boston.
Sasaki partnered with Shawmut Design and Construction and Skanska to implement the City of Boston’s vision of an inclusive, welcoming front yard for downtown Boston.
Many new features make the Plaza a more comfortable place to come and stay rather than just pass through. A new, ADA-accessible promenade, known as the Hanover Walk, winds through the middle of the Plaza and replaces over twenty-five vertical feet of steps that forced people with mobility aids and strollers to take long and treacherous detours around City Hall. There are also now 3,000 places to sit throughout the space, many with accessible companion seating areas. The Plaza is home to 250 new trees, whose shade will cool the entire Plaza in the summer. A new Civic Pavilion overlooking Congress Street offers public restrooms and an inviting space for indoor events. And the 12,000-square-foot playscape, with its impressive slide, gives families a contained and accessible place to gather.
Speaking to grand opening visitors from the new Speakers’ Corner platform in front of City Hall’s main entrance, Sasaki landscape architect Mauricio Gomez explained how the stormwater system also sustainably supports the Plaza’s new plantlife and mitigates flooding. “We capture all the rainwater from this western portion of the site and collect it into a 10,000-gallon underground storage tank right below you. That is then used to supply irrigation for all the vegetation across the entire plaza, and eliminates the need to use City water.”
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu also 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.”