CITY HALLucination: The Arching Attitudes of City Halls from Surface to Type

Boston City Hall

Boston City Hall

by Trax Yinan Wang (MAUD ’16) — Recipient of the 2016 Thesis Prize

This thesis aims to examine the role of city hall as an acupuncture architectural and urban design project within the American urban landscape across from the urban center to the urban edge. The first half of the thesis is a taxonomic research, which examines the arc of attitudes towards the political, social and spatial dimension of city halls across time in the context of American cities. The second half of the thesis is three design proposals with the intention of deriving new designs and understanding of the city halls that aim to set the 21st century terms for a sense of the commons, democracy and monumentality which move from surface to type. This thesis is important because it would open up a discussion between the original manifestation of the city hall, current attempts to accommodate a larger suite of cultural and civic activities, and, in reality, the frequent lack of civic activities in many contemporary city centers.The project would also discover a transition from surface to type for contemporary city halls that revives the sense of the commons which was lost, in particular, a type that might be able to both meet the administrative needs of city government and catalyze a new sense of public space with multi-functional urban activities across the various urban landscape.

Thesis Advisor:
Felipe Correa

Final Review Presentation