Completed in 2004, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) anchors the rapidly developing mixed-use neighborhood of South Boston’s historic Seaport District. At 1.7 million square feet and with a 60-foot-high cantilevered roof, the facility required a street-level plaza that would successfully mediate between pedestrians and its monumental scale. Richard Burck Associates coordinated closely with HNTB / Rafael Viñoly Architects to form a tight, balanced relationship between the architecture and landscape of this Massachusetts Convention Center Authority facility.
The entranceway was designed to express the strong geometry of the architecture, and American hornbeam hedges, grand stairs, and site walls were used to delineate intimate, discrete spaces for passage and gathering. Plazas planted with honeylocust flank the ceremonial and civic portal, creating dappled shade over the custom stainless steel and ipe wood benches that reflect the materials and details of the architecture. The plaza surface collects stormwater run-off and redistributes it to the tree roots below via gravity. This rainwater harvesting system, developed in collaboration with Pine and Swallow Associates, is a long-term, sustainable solution for the passive irrigation of urban trees grown atop structure.