Rethinking City Hall
November 5th, 2012

The main idea of the original City Hall design, innovative in its time, was to lift the administrative functions of the building to allow for the extension of the city underneath—a move intended to promote civic interaction and political. However, the final architectural expression is an adulterated embodiment of the initial concept: the introversion of its base coupled with the confusing splintering of functions in the layout not only contradicts the original ideals of a green and civic forum but also creates a building that is often hostile to its occupants and surroundings.

Our intentions are to re-dress this misrepresentation while considering the original design principles in the current context of an electronically bound and politically disengaged society. These new exigencies require a radical redefinition of City Hall civic role. Hence, our proposal provides an intensified public forum that actively engages the city.

We propose to remove the existing masonry plinth, and introduce in its place two surfaces: one, an extension of the Plaza to Congress Street as a public living room with an event space, meeting rooms and automated service stations; and the other an inner oasis for the employees of City Hall. Our scheme clarifies the initial ambitions for the site, opening the building to the city and offering a public ground for both civic and leisure activities.

Team: Aziza Chaouni, Jeannette Kuo, Uenal Karamuk