Downtown Crossing Plaza

Boston, MA
Architecture (new construction)
Amphitheater/headhouse & plaza
1,000 sf
Credit List:
Höweler + Yoon Architecture, Eric Höweler, J. Meejin Yoon, Kyle Coburn, Cyrus Dochow
John Horner

The Downtown Crossing subway entrance has been rebuilt as an amphitheater facing the busy pedestrian thoroughfare, providing a new 1000sf public space within the dense Downtown Crossing neighborhood. Precast planks with an upturned beam profile span between steel raker-beams to create the amphitheater surface. The subway entrance under the amphitheater is clad with a glass store front system allowing the surface of the amphitheater to read like a thin surface. A low platform at the base of the amphitheater serves as a stage for planned to impromptu street performances and events.

The plaza introduces a "shared surface" of new pavers that extend the plaza across Franklin and Washington Streets to create an expanded pedestrian space on the north side of the tower. The concrete paving pattern consists of a mix of three colored pavers, allowing for gradient patterns and different mixes of colors to designate different zones within the plaza. A tan paver with a black paver signifies vehicular. A tan paver with a red paver signifies pedestrian zone. The "shared surface" strategy for "traffic calming" pioneers a model of public space design that eliminates curbs in a counter-intuitive approach that actually reduces drivers' speeds and improves traffic safety. 

The landscape element consists of a series of terraces defined by rows of pleached trees and plantings in raised planter boxes. The landscape was designed in collaboration with Richard Burck Associates. The Millenium Tower is designed by Handel Architects.