The Landscape Architect’s Guide to


Financial District / Government Center

City Hall Plaza

Your Guide
Susannah Ross, ASLA

Boston City Hall Plaza arose out of the Government Center urban renewal plan, authored by I.M. Pei and Partners in 1961, which proposed to regenerate and renew what had become a somewhat unsavory area—the West End and Scollay Square. The City Hall and Plaza were designed by Kallman McKinnell & Knowles in 1962, and constructed from 1963 – 1968.

The 8-acre brick-paved plaza has received its share of criticism over the years, for being vast, hard, and inhospitable, but it was a bold modernist statement in a then-traditional city that responded to and integrated with the Brutalist architecture of City Hall itself.

The design deftly negotiates a 20-foot change in grade from Cambridge Street on the east to Congress Street on the west, and continues to provide a durable, flexible, grandly-scaled space for some of the city’s biggest cultural events.
boston tclf

View Sites Nearby