Revitalizing a 1960’s Brutalist Icon

Universal access and technological upgrades make Boston’s seat of government more inviting to the public

Boston City Hall Council Chambers

City of Boston
Boston, Massachusetts

Completed in 1968, City Hall is a leading example of Brutalist architecture in America, featuring exterior facades and interiors of exposed, cast-in-place concrete. Finegold Alexander strategically redesigned the Boston City Hall Council Chamber to enhance accessibility and upgrade the technology and building systems. To resolve code and access deficiencies, Finegold Alexander raised the council chamber floor, eliminating ramps and steps making accessibility in and round the space universal. Other key interventions include acoustical upgrades, technology and lighting improvements.

(Photo credit: Raj Das Photography)

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3,500 SF
Council Chamber
2019 Boston Society of Architects, William D. Smith Memorial Award for Accessible Design
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Project EUI
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“The wheelchair seating area and the location of the podiums on each end provide real equity for people with disabilities… Thank you for eliminating a huge barrier to civic participation for people with disabilities.”
Commissioner Kristen McCosh, Mayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities

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The importance of the Council Chambers is signaled on the exterior of the iconic Boston City Hall. The Council Chambers are located at the paired windows, extending outward above the building's main entrance, at the right-hand side of this view. Its location is directly below the Boston City Hall inscription.

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“It has been wonderful to partner with this team to oversee renovations of theCity Council Chamber that will provide universal accessibility while honoring the iconic nature of City Hall’s architecture.”
Boston City Council President Michelle Wu