Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Federal Reserve Bank

The Stubbins Associates, 1977

Harleston Parker Medal, 1981

Like many large scale Boston developments, the complex is composed of a low-rise wing lining the street, a tower with much of the square footage, and a plaza that provides landscaping and gathering spaces. The aluminum skin and broad expanses of glass express the interior functions and building structure in simple but powerful ways, balancing security with an openness to the public.

Two emphatic vertical shafts enclose elevators, stairs and other services, and act as giant columns allowing open floors to bridge between them. The low-rise wing slides underneath, creating a fourth floor roof terrace and an entry lobby that is entirely glazed. Their horizontality and crisp sculptural character is echoed by the sloping knife-edged tower spandrels that provide shade from the sun. Secure banking areas are locked tight behind aluminum panels while public and bank personnel areas are marked by mullion-less ribbon windows.

The Dewey Square plaza outside was reworked by Halvorson as part of the “big dig” early in the 21st century, with defensive measures deftly integrated into the inviting public spaces, and landscaping softening the windowless aluminum panel walls.