Great architecture involves much more than a building’s good looks. The recently completed Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Center, designed by Dutch firm Mecanoo and Watertown-based Sasaki Associates, is one such example. The new landmark structure, located in Boston’s Dudley Square, combines the facades of three historic buildings and aims to revitalize the Roxbury neighborhood with community-inclusive design.
Designed to house 500 employees of the Boston Public Schools, the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Center stitches together three 19th-century buildings—the 1895 Ferdinand Building, the 1888 Curtis Building, and the 1890 Waterman Building—into an interconnected contemporary building that serves as a community landmark. The building’s ground floor also incorporates the old rail track. The architects drew on Boston’s tradition of brick building and clad the exterior in different brickwork styles—undulating curves of bricks knit together the separate building facades—that Mecanoo’s project leader Marta Roy says includes a “Dutch touch.” By retaining and restoring the historic facades and overhauling the interior, the architects created a new and inviting municipal building that respected local context.
Mecanoo and Sasaki worked closely with the community to create the light-filled municipal center, which comprises community space and retail in addition to the Boston Public Schools offices. The community-oriented design is also notable because of its location in a neighborhood notorious for disinvestment and violence. The public has access to the roof garden as well as the second floor Roxbury Innovation Center, which celebrates Boston’s history and vision for future growth.
Images via Mecanoo