The Community Advisory Committee for the Johnson Building Improvement Project met on the morning of October 19. Cliff Gayley from William Rawn Associates | Architects, Inc., walked the committee through the Rawn team’s scale model of the Johnson Building which shows the first floor, mezzanine, second floor, and exterior.
The initial phase of work on the Johnson Building project will begin in December 2013 and involves changes to the second floor including a new children’s library and teen room as well as updated nonfiction collections and reference services. One of the notable design elements on the second floor is the introduction of color to the area. (Editor’s note: the model shows color representations, not final colors.) The architect team, in partnership with members of the library team, is studying the paint colors in the McKim Building to see what colors might modernized and then carried through to the renovated Johnson Building.
Subsequent phases include work on the mezzanine, first floor, exterior, and concourse (lower) level of the Johnson Building. While those designs are not as fully developed as those for the second floor, the model helped the committee see the direction of the design. The first floor will include a new books area, borrower services, Tech Central, a café or store, and a world-class fiction section. Fiction will continue onto the mezzanine along with world languages and a community learning center. The first floor and the second floor will also have new bathrooms added. There are presently no restrooms on the first or second floor.
During the discussion period, committee members shared feedback with the architects about the importance of the underside of the mezzanine bridges having good lighting, to pay close attention to the nature of any new stairways added, and that any sort of food or beverages be located close to the entrance. The idea of a center atrium feature was well-received, especially as a parallel to the courtyard in the McKim Building.
The exterior landscape is a project element in the very early statges of development. The committee responded positively to the notion that the entrance will be greened and discussed the importance of moving the pay-toilet off the corner of Exeter and Boylston. There was also discussion about the nature of the sidewalk materials, the importance of lighting and a clear entrance to the library, and the need for thoughtful placement of outdoor furniture including garbage receptacles.
The next meeting of the Community Advisory Committee is Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 9-10:30 a.m. Commonwealth Salon. Download the list of Community Advisory Group members.