Landslide2008: Marvels of Modernism

Boston City Hall Plaza

Boston, Massachusetts

Designed by Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles

“Often called the best public building of our time, the Boston City Hall is a strong, dramatic articulation of the function of government.”
 - Eva Jacob, New Architecture in New England (1974)

Boston City Hall Plaza sits upon ground that has undergone many transformations since our country’s colonial era.

A wealthy enclave of Boston merchants in the 18th century, this part of Boston, which became known as Scollay Square and the West End, slowly deteriorated as it lost investors and, by the late 19th century, it became the hub of cabarets and burlesque shows. In 1961, the City of Boston acquired the derelict area and hired I.M. Pei and Partners to execute a Government Center Urban Renewal Plan. The resulting City Hall Plaza introduced Modernism into the heart of historic Boston and it demonstrated a successful effort to revitalize one of America’s most historic cities. Today, many people fear that without the investment needed to make the building and surrounding plaza sustainable for the future, it will deteriorate from neglect. more...

Photo © Sam Sweezy


List of Marvels

Boston City Hall Plaza
Boston, Massachusetts

Estates Drive Reservoir
Oakland, California

Heritage Plaza
Heritage Park
Fort Worth, Texas

Kaiser Roof Garden
Kaiser Center
Oakland, California

Lake Elizabeth
Allegheny Commons
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Manhattan Square Park
Rochester, New York

Mill Creek Canyon

Kent, Washington

Miller Garden
Columbus, Indiana

El Monte
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico

Pacific Science
Center Courtyard

Seattle, Washington

San Francisco, California

Peavey Plaza
Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota

education partners
Garden DesignGeorge Eastman House
Additional Sponsors

American Society of Landscape Architects’ Indiana, Pennsylvania/Delaware, Minnesota, Northern California, Texas, Upstate New York, and Washington Chapters • Astorino • Charles Butt • Design Within Reach • Topher Delaney • Sandy Donnell & Justin Faggioli • Fathom • Tom Fox • Hillman Foundation • Indianapolis Museum of Art • Lorraine Osmundson • Richard T. Murphy • National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northeast, Southwest, and Western Offices- with funds from the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation of New York, Dodge Jones Foundation Intervention Fund, and Eastern Massachusetts Preservation Fund • James Richards • Seibert & Rice • Diana & Bruce Shuman • Ann Stack • SWA Group • TBG Partners • Michal and Jeffrey William Tincup • Unilock Inc. • The Woltz Charitable Trust