Skip to content

At long last, making one of Boston's most-used civic places welcoming and accessible for everyday and special day occasions

Boston City Hall Plaza Renovation

City of Boston
Boston, MA
7 acres
Matthew Arielly
Civil Engineering
Landscape Architecture
Additional Services
Community Engagement
Interior Design
Planning and Urban Design
Completed 2022

Sasaki, in partnership with Mayor Michelle Wu and the City of Boston, embarked on a renovation of the historic Boston City Hall Plaza. The seven-acre plaza is one of the City’s largest civic spaces and for the last 50 years it has hosted events ranging from sports celebrations and political rallies to seasonal cultural festivals. Much has changed about the plaza’s urban context, standards of public safety and security, and municipal operations since its design in the 1960s. The Plaza was lacking 21st century infrastructure to support engaged, civic life: its massive open space and stepped elevation change made an unwelcoming and inaccessible environment for everyday activity.

In October 2017, the city released the Boston City Hall and Plaza Master Planning Study: Rethink City Hall, which was led by Utile and Reed Hilderbrand. The study resulted in a 30-year master plan to address required repairs and to transform the 50-year-old City Hall and Plaza into an innovative, healthy, and efficient civic facility to better serve current and future generations of Bostonians and visitors, alike.

Community engagement began in early 2015 during the master planning process. Across social media and through dozens of public meetings the public helped crowdsource ideas on how to reimagine the plaza. As the project proceeded it engaged many stakeholders and abutters; importantly, these include the MBTA and the U.S. General Services Administration.

The Phase 1 City Hall Plaza project arising from the master plan has been completed. Led by Sasaki, its main goal was to make the plaza more accessible for all while delivering updated programming capabilities, adding infrastructure, and improving sustainability. The new design connects Congress and Cambridge Streets with an accessible sloped promenade activated by 21st century civic amenities like shady seating and gathering areas, a destination play space, a public art space, and an iconic water feature. The main plaza accommodates events of up to 20,000 people in a wide variety of potential configurations.

Additional project features include:

  • Opening the North building entry
  • Accessibility improvements to the plaza entry
  • Enhanced speakers corner
  • Stormwater improvements working with Boston Water and Sewer Commission
  • Flexible platform for various sized performances

The updates modernized the historic Plaza with improved infrastructure, sustainability and public spaces while simultaneously honoring its original intentions and history as Boston’s place to gather, celebrate, and make residents’ voices heard.

The Boston City Hall Plaza Renovation project is managed through the City’s Operations Cabinet by the Public Facilities Department in partnership with the Property Management Department and is assisted by owners project manager Skanska USA.

For additional information about the City Hall Plaza Renovation project, visit For more background on the Rethink City Hall Master Planning Study completed in 2017, visit

For more information contact Fiske Crowell.

Sasaki colorful logo Sasaki 中文