City Hall Plaza, with its ‘‘200,000 square feet of contiguous solid-surface’’, not only provides the flexibility to support various activities, it also carries the power to spark a sense of wonder in civic engagement. The solution to the plaza’s current problems need not be overwrought. What is required is a civic gesture that is at once generous and engaging. As the seat of local government, City Hall Plaza simply needs to offer chairs. Lots of chairs. Chairs that populate, activate, and accommodate the plaza. Chairs that can be appropriated by the city and the individual. Chairs that instigate spectacle. Chairs that create a place of repose. And chairs that take the everyday by surprise.
ACTIVATE. The solution for City Hall Plaza lies in commanding the 200,000 square feet of hardscape in such a manner as to encourage unplanned events to take place when planned events are not. 1,000 chairs across the space of the plaza is – in and of itself – that event. The chair patterns that follow are just a few suggestions for seating layout that will help artfully define and activate the space of the city.
APPROPRIATE. On any given day, the layout of 1,000 chairs begins as a highly choreographed spatial occurrence by trained staff. The plaza and the chairs are then handed over to the denizens of Boston for re-appropriation and adaptation to everyday patterns of use and movement.
ACCOMODATE. In order to accommodate existing city events, the chairs can be relocated on the plaza strategically to simultaneously provide the space required for the event as well as control security and access at the plaza. The plaza, therefore, acts as both storage space and event space.
Architect: Office of Architecture; Team: Aniket Shahane, Principal; Ivan Kostic, Valentin Bansac