Commemorate Boston City Hall at 50


Michele Racioppi


Docomomo US staff


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Boston City Hall at 50

Boston City Hall is 50 years old and thriving. Designed by Kallman McKinnell & Knowles after Gerhard Kallmann and Michael McKinnel entered and won a design competition, the new city hall was well-received among architectural critics but was polarizing for city residents. Over the years, the building faced various threats ranging from alteration to demolition, but recently the city has begun to embrace its Brutal heritage.

In 2017, the city put out a call for a firm to carry out a major renovation project. Last year, the $60 million plan was announced, to be led by Utile Architecture + Planning and Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects. Some minor work has already been completed, such as a re-working of the lobby to make it more functional for current needs. The bulk of the project will likely begin in 2020. 

Earlier this month, the city kicked off celebrations with a birthday party for city hall (including a city hall cake, of course) that was free and open to the public. Ongoing throughout the month of February there will be three exhibitions in the City Hall Galleries featuring depictions of city hall by local students as well as the results of a competition that asked the public to "Reimagine City Hall." We imagine a bright future for this heroic concrete icon. 


Commemorative Pin

Chris Grimley at OverUnder has designed a special limted-edition pin to mark this Brutalist icon's golden anniversary. Grimley, who co-authored the book "Heroic Concrete: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston," has generously offered to donate a percentage of the sales to Docomomo US.

The pin is cast in bronze and hand patina'd. Included with each is a unique numbered letterpress card that reproduces one of the original competition sketches for the building, printed in gold ink and signed by the building's architect Michael McKinnell.