Interior of the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building; Interior of the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building;

Bruce C Bolling Municipal Center, Boston, MA

Helping the City of Boston achieve cost effective construction

Spearheaded by former Mayor Thomas Menino in the mid-2000s, the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Center project was launched in 2008 to help revitalise Boston’s Dudley Square—a once bustling business centre that had fallen into decline. Anchored by the striking flatiron-style Ferdinand Furniture Building, this mixed-use development, designed by Mecanoo and Sasaki, marries together three historic buildings to provide 215,000ft2 of world-class retail, municipal and office space. 

Arup provided integrated structural, MEP engineering and IT solutions that were critical to keeping construction costs down while helping the City of Boston achieve its goal of LEED Gold certification.

Since its opening in 2015, the Bolling Municipal Center has been widely noted for its sensitive design, which brings the aesthetics and energy performance of Dudley Square into the 21st century while honouring its origins. 

Project Summary

215,000 square-feet of world-class retail, municipal and office space

3historic buildings unified

1stChapter 149A project in Boston

Structural gymnastics and sustainability challenges

The most challenging aspect of the project from a structural standpoint was devising strategies to seamlessly unify the site’s three historic buildings. To protect the most defining features of the existing structures while providing the necessary structural integrity, Arup’s engineers developed tailored solutions, such as using ground-floor columns removed from the Ferdinand Building to structurally support other floors.

Maximising sustainability can be particularly challenging for projects, like this one, that incorporate historic elements. In this case, the low thermal performance of the Ferdinand Building’s historic façade made it difficult to meet the Massachusetts’ Stretch Code requirement of 20% energy use reduction.

To improve overall performance, Arup adopted a “whole building energy approach,” that utilised a range of solutions, including energy efficient lighting, an active chilled beam system, and energy recovery air handling units. Arup’s mechanical and structural engineers also worked together to find the best approach to weaving together the centre’s old and new walls.

Since it completion, the Bolling Municipal Center has garnered numerous awards, including a Harleston Parker Medal from the Boston Society of Architects, a Presentation Achievement Award (Boston Chapter), and an ACEC National Honor Award for Engineering Excellence.

The building currently serves as the central headquarters of the Boston Public School system.