Boston’s City Hall has been both praised and criticized since it opened in 1969, and recent years have seen calls for moving the center of city government and for demolishing the building, which was designed in the Brutalist style.
Professor Emeritus Harry Bartnick of Suffolk’s New England School of Art & Design has offered a design solution that preserves the best of the building while addressing issues such as climate control and confusing access.
In the op-ed “Give Boston’s City Hall a much-needed makeover,” published in the Boston Globe, Bartnick suggests sheathing the walls with a glass curtain wall. His related drawings are published online.
In explaining his approach, Bartnick writes: “To satisfy those preservationists and future generations who might hold a kinder view of the building, why can’t we make changes that are easily reversible, while simultaneously acting to protect and preserve the structure? The changes should incorporate existing features and appear to be part of the original design, not an afterthought or cover-up.”
Bartnick has been working on his ideas for several years and sees them as a jumping-off point.
“I've offered a solution which I believe could be spectacular if picked up and developed by professional architects,” said Bartnick after the article was published. “Though my renderings are quite specific, my intention is to propose a basic concept —an articulated glass sheath —from which many viable possibilities would emerge.”