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Community Impact

May 16, 2024

The BSA Green Stairs: Part 2

Andy Ryan 2040 b

Photo by Andy Ryan.

Welcome back to our In Memoriam series about the BSA Green Stairs. In the previous installment, we reviewed the design, fabrication, and installation of the steel structure in the BSA Space at 290 Congress Street, completed twelve-and-a-half years ago.

Initial Reception: Iconic

Right off the bat from unveiling the newly-installed stairs, they were a hit. Robert Campbell from the Boston Globe said it best: “It feels as if it needs capital letters, like the Green Monster. It’s more than a stair. It’s a totem, a logo, an emblem.” (February 12, 2012).

There is a general consensus that the BSA’s move to Atlantic Wharf following the installation of the Stairs created more of an open-door connection between the BSA, the AEC profession, and the general community by establishing such a visual identifier to the public. I would say among the staff, at least, we have a reverence for them.


It’s been a process of several months while Corderman & Company ( carefully deconstructed the staircase behind their highly-ventilated barrier walls (it’s like someone built a fort in the middle of Salt!).

The beauty of the stairs appearing to be a single sheet of steel posed the challenge of how, exactly, to remove them from the building. It feels a bit like blasphemy that they had to be cut into smaller pieces and removed through an opening cut into a wall downstairs. But let’s be honest, how else would you remove 13 tons of 3/4″ thick steel plate?

The Hole (you might remember it from my previous mentions), was with us for some time before moving into the next phase: concrete.

During the removal process, March 25, 2024. Photo credits: Corderman & Company.

The Hole, after full removal of the green-painted steel, April 24, 2024. Photo credits: Sara Hawes, BSA.

The framing installed to support the concrete soon to be poured, April 30, 2024. Photo credits: Sara Hawes, BSA.

Rebar and additional structure to support the concrete, May 1, 2024. Photo credits: Sara Hawes, BSA.

The fresh concrete, still wet on May 2, 2024. Photo credits: Dave Nagel, BSA.

Who managed to get their initials in there, I wonder? 🤔 (if you're reading this, it gave the staff a laugh but please don’t do that again)

The concrete got another pour, which smoothed those... blemishes (we're looking at you, S+F). Photo credits: Dave Nagel, BSA.

We are now in the era of blending this new section of flooring with the existing polished concrete we all know from the Space. There is still work to be done, but I hope we have you feeling reassured about staying in the loop.

In Celebration of the BSA's Green Stairs: Giving them a second life

Our beloved Green Stairs may no longer lead up to our offices from Congress Street, but the BSA team has ensured they will have a second life. The stairs themselves have been donated in two-stair sections to the recently renovated outdoor recreation area at the Boston Public Health Commission shelter in Roxbury. These sections will be installed as public benches, bringing some bright spots of levity for those in need of a moment’s rest.

The remainder of the stairs have been saved and, with the help of John Dickey (, have been turned into collectible mementos. For a donation to the BSA Foundation, these mementos are available as gifts to you or your firm on a first-come, first-served basis.

Every item is unique in appearance, and no two items are exactly the same. Each retains both the elegant beauty of the original green stairs and the character inherent to their function and removal after twelve years of service (read: they’re recycled!).

All proceeds from purchase of these collectibles will support the BSA Foundation and its programming, connecting the profession to our community. Take a look at the options and secure your memento today!

The Green Stairs are receiving a second life, continuing to connect the profession to the community by funding BSA Foundation programming.

Remember to stay tuned for the next installment in our series, where we will break down the lasting impact the staircase has on the community and look at past BSA spaces through the lens of 2024. Thanks for reading!