Project name: Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building
Project location: Boston
Firm name: Mecanoo Architecten with Sasaki
Jury comments: For its beauty as a total building, the jury enthusiastically recommends awarding the 2016 Harleston Parker Medal to The Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, designed by Mecanoo Architecten with Sasaki, for the City of Boston.
The building clearly embraces, and enhances, its community surroundings. Rather than using self-referential motives, the building forges a bond with its context through careful modulation of scale, the use of strategic thinking in locating key building elements, and the artful use of materials. The building references its neighbors and draws inspiration from them while simultaneously transforming its surroundings into a unique urban experience. It embraces its complex urban environment in an organic way, reflecting that complexity but doing so in a unified manner.
The Bolling Building merges ambition and beauty, cleverly taking its uses and cues from the neighborhood grid and transportation lines nearby. Here, beauty is about aesthetics, innovation, community, and reinventing how people work together. It is culturally transformative. Although the impact on its users and the surrounding community is significant, it can also be considered on aesthetics alone. The designers were able to reinterpret heavy masonry into something that marries well with the look and feel of the original building. It works best as the user moves through it and around it, as its subtle maneuvers continually surprise. In the end, the Bolling is an extremely successful intervention at the scale of the building and the larger city beyond. It expresses a language that is unique to the City of Boston
Throughout history, buildings we consider today to be beautiful have also helped to shape, strengthen. and transform their surroundings. Their sense of value as buildings cannot be separated from their contribution to their context. The relationship becomes symbiotic. In the opinion of the jury, Bolling Building achieves this relationship, augmenting its surroundings and helping to strengthen a community.
Client: City of Boston
Consultants: Shawmut Design and Construction, Arup, Sasaki, Building Conservation Associates, Weston & Sampson, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, LAM Partners, Cavanaugh Tocci, Rolf Jensen Consultants, Penny Carlhian