Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building

Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building


Boston, United States | View Map
Project Year
City Halls

Cultural Centres
Stories By

Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct link
Resilient flooringForbo Flooring SystemsFlotex Colour
ManufacturersCasalgrande Padana
ManufacturersFormica Group
New FacadeKawneer
Acoustical CeilingsArmstrong Ceiling Solutions

Product Spec Sheet
Resilient flooring
New Facade
by Kawneer
Acoustical Ceilings

Dudley Municipal Center

Mecanoo as Architects

As a testimony to the vision of the late mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building stands proudly over Dudley Square. It was Menino who decided the City of Boston would develop the vital plot of land by consolidating 500 civil servants from the Boston Public Schools department into a new municipal office building for education, in conjunction with a community centre and retail space.­­­

The building’s second floor is home to the Roxbury Innovation Center, initiated by Mayor Walsh. Mecanoo and Sasaki’s design embodies the City’s vision of a symbol of change that is freely accessible to all, celebrating the history of Roxbury and inaugurating a new era for the neighbourhood. Since every student and parent in the state will visit the BPS at least once, the building is designed to be friendly, healthy and inspirational to people of all ages.

It challenges what an office building is, proposing new ways of working and promoting collaboration and transparency through an open layout. The existing historical facades of the Ferdinand, Curtis and Waterman buildings have been comprehensively restored and stitched together into a bright new building.Referencing these original buildings, the central volume to new municipal centre also embodies a time-honoured approach to craft in construction. As a Bostonian building with a Dutch touch, a contemporary interpretation of classical layering manifests itself in the brick work encompassing a number of different masonry techniques from running bond, to stack bond, to soldier bond.

Elements in relief cast intricate shadows across one another in a playful, ‘jazzy’ rhythm. The vitreous properties of the bricks reflect light in different ways depending on the weather conditions. Designed to have a transparent plinth on ground floor level – known as the “New Dudley Square” – and a beacon-like crown at the very top, the form of the building defers to the urban grid.

Visitors will also marvel at the fifth floor with its roof terrace that is, uniquely, accessible to all and offers vistas across the metropolis towards downtown and the water beyond, signifying Dudley’s reborn presence at the gravity point of the city of Boston.

Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building

Sasaki as Architects

Sasaki, in collaboration with the Netherlands-based design firm Mecanoo, worked with the City of Boston to design a municipal office building in Dudley Square. Located in the heart of Roxbury, Dudley Square is a mass transit hub rich with culture and history. The facility is a part of former Mayor Thomas M. Menino's Dudley Square Vision Project, which sought to revitalize the once-thriving urban neighborhood. Using the past to create the future, the facility preserves and incorporates the iconic Ferdinand Furniture Building, an emblem of the square's historic commercial vitality. The 215,000-square-foot structure will become the headquarters of Boston Public Schools (BPS), and will include a green roof, state-of-the-art office space, retail, civic spaces, and community meeting space.

The Sasaki/Mecanoo team was selected through a high-profile public process, and stood out by envisioning the municipal building as the centerpiece of what will eventually become a transformed neighborhood animated with shops, restaurants, and public spaces. "Dudley Square is a historic neighborhood at the heart of our city and its revitalization is one of the most important development projects currently underway in Boston," said Mayor Menino. "I am thrilled to have Sasaki/Mecanoo as part of the Dudley team that will unlock the potential of Dudley Square and make it a thriving center of city life once again."

Achieving the appropriate balance between the vision of the future and the historical integrity of Dudley Square was a critical component of the design process. In addition to the Ferdinand Furniture Building, the design incorporates the historic Curtis and Waterman buildings, which creates a triangle of historic facades connected by new construction. The restored Ferdinand, Curtis, and Waterman buildings maintain the existing feel and scale of Dudley Square, and the building adds a powerful modern aesthetic. Together, these elements create a rich texture both physically and conceptually.

The ground floor of the facility serves as a public zone, providing both community gathering space and opportunities for economic advancement through retail and dining. The second floor is outfitted with meeting rooms to provide an interaction zone for BPS, while the sixth floor public meeting space and roof terrace will be open and accessible to all.

Sasaki's design for the BPS offices will create a new model for municipal workers, promoting collaboration and transparency through an open layout. To support not only the staff members, but also the students and parents they serve, the design is welcoming and punctuated with spaces that will facilitate interaction between BPS and the Boston community.

The design process has involved extensive public outreach and several open design forums. The Sasaki team is working closely with the city, including the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Public Facilities Department. In addition, the process has necessitated frequent review from Boston Landmarks Commission.

Project Credits
Products used in this project
Spencer Courtyard
next project

Spencer Courtyard

London, United Kingdom - Build completed in 2019
View Project