Hynes Convention Center addition

Hynes Convention Center addition

Kallmann, McKinnell, and Wood, addition/renovation, 1988

Harleston Parker Medal, 1989

Designed by the same architects that designed Boston City Hall, the Convention Center trades that municipal monument’s concrete abstractions for a more familiar language of classical forms and materials, although the firm’s emphasis on monumentality is similar.

The new building replaced the utilitarian Convention Center built in 1963, and extended its footprint out to Boylston Street and onto the empty Prudential Center forecourt. The building was part of a decades-long plan to re-urbanize the Prudential’s cluster of towers and reintegrate them into the surrounding city.

A granite colonnade defines the street edge with materials and details that relate to those in its Back Bay setting, but with a clearly contemporary power and simplicity. A striking entrance canopy, not quite on axis with Gloucester Street, leads into a skylit rotunda and on to a series of convention halls and circulation spaces. The interiors lack the sense of conviction that animates the heroically scaled walls outside.