scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Mayor decides it’s time to brighten up dreary City Hall

<?EM-dummyText [Drophead goes here] ?>

A rendering of Boston City Hall with "Patriots" colors from Faneuil Hall.The Boston Globe/Boston Globe

City Hall, the dim concrete seat of Boston government, is about to get brighter.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh wants to turn up the lights.

By summer, soft hues of red, white, blue, and green are expected to radiate on the building, enlivening it and making for a safer walk from City Hall Plaza to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, the mayor announced this weekend. "We are committed to creating a welcoming, lively City Hall Plaza,'' he said.

The lighting, estimated to cost $3 million, will include 325 light fixtures on existing recessed structures and new poles. LED technology will replace the old lighting. The project will be put to bid Feb. 12, with construction set for April and completion expected in July.


A rendering of the view from Boston City Hall Plaza with new lights.The Boston Globe

City Hall, a monument to the Brutalist style of architecture, was built in 1968 and is being considered for landmark designation by Boston's Landmarks Commission.

Greg Galer, executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, said that over time, savings on energy and maintenance costs will more than make up for the initial costs for the lighting.

Most people have grown accustomed to City Hall's gloomy exterior, but when the building was first built, floodlights set it aglow. Over the past few decades, lights outside the building gradually had begun dimming or burning out, and have not been replaced.

Neglect haunted the building, and it suffered through patchwork repairs with no major renovation.

The mayor launched an effort last year seeking creative ways to reinvigorate City Hall, and Galer said the new lighting is a first step in the long process of bringing the building back to life.

"When they light this building, people will understand how great this building is,'' he said, "and they will look at [it] totally differently."

A rendering of the view from Boston City Hall Plaza without lights.The Boston Globe

Meghan E. Irons can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.