Proposal for a Green City Hall

Boston, MA

This concept proposal was conceived and developed by Henry MacLean with faculty colleagues Franziska Amacher and Ambrose Spencer in 1996 while teaching at Wentworth Institute of Technology. It set out a vision for the integration of ecological architecture and planning for the future development of Boston City Hall and it’s plaza. MacLean presented this proposal to Mayor Menino’s Cabinet in 1997, and subsequently at several regional and national conferences on green design where it received wide praise. In 2008, with renewed interest in the future of City Hall, the group expanded to form the Green City Team and present an updated proposal as part of a Boston City Council hearing to save and green Boston City Hall. 

Back up design and engineering was provided for the energy and resource savings of over $1 million dollars per year achieved by the refurbishing of the building’s mechanical system with new heat recovery ventilation. The reclamation of 130,000 square feet of space at City Hall included reusing the open core and shafts of the building into winter gardens that would also provide substantially improved fresh air supply for the occupants. With the energy and potential for rental income, the $60 million restoration could pay for itself in less than 9 years. For more information click Boston Area Solar Energy Association.

This facility would be open to the public, integrated with restaurants and new commercial spaces, a redeveloped plaza landscape and additional reclaimed public space in the building. By coordinating security concerns with the three main building entries, City Hall could function as a bridge (figuratively and literally) between Quincy Market and City Hall Plaza, instead of serving as the wall it is now. As part of this master plan, a proposed Boston Sustainability Center was designed for ecological research and as an education/demonstration and monitoring center for the City of Boston and region of New England. This facility would be open to the public, integrated with restaurants and new commercial spaces; a redeveloped landscape on the plaza and additional reclaimed public space in the building.