Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building

CompanyMecanoo architecten / Sasaki Associates
Lead DesignerFrancine Houben, Mecanoo architecten & Victor Vizgaitis, Sasaki Associates
Design TeamVictor Vizgaitis, Sasaki Associates
PrizeSilver in Architectural Design / Institutional Architecture

The design for the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building embodies the City of Boston’s vision of a symbol of change. At the gravity point of the city, the building celebrates the history of Roxbury. It offers open-plan workspaces for 500 civil servants of the Boston Public Schools department, in conjunction with a community center, retail spaces, and the Roxbury Innovation Center. The building plays a central role in reactivating Dudley Square, the neighborhood’s transportation hub and commercial center. It was the late Mayor Menino who decided the City of Boston itself would develop the vital triangular plot graced by the famous Ferdinand building (1895). The design team convinced the city to also include the adjacent Curtis (1888) and Waterman (1890) buildings, creating an all- sided plot for the project. The existing historical facades have been comprehensively restored and stitched together into a bright new building. The design seeks to unite and re-engage these frontages, thereby reaching back to all sides of the city. Referencing the old buildings, the central volume of the new municipal center embodies a time- honored approach to craftsmanship in construction. A Bostonian building with a Dutch touch, the contemporary interpretation of classical layering manifests itself in the brick work which encompasses a number of different masonry techniques. The vitreous properties of the bricks reflect light in different ways depending on the weather conditions. Elements in relief cast intricate shadows across one another in a playful, jazzy rhythm. Designed to have a transparent plinth on ground floor level, known as the “New Dudley Square”, and a beacon-like crown at the very top, the form of the building blends with the urban grid. Visitors will marvel at the sixth floor with its unique public-access roof terrace. Offering vistas across the metropolis towards downtown and beyond, the Bolling building signifies Dudley’s reborn presence.