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Category Archives: Johnson Building Study

Johnson Improvement Project Landmarks Process

Posted on November 5th, 2013 by Eamon Shelton in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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In order to achieve the transformative changes planned for the Johnson Building, the library, the city and architects have worked closely with the community, its neighbors and numerous city agencies and local organizations.  The Boston Landmarks Commission, the municipal preservation agency for Boston’s Historic Buildings has been important to this process.

When the McKim building was officially designated as a Boston landmark in 2000, the façade and lobby of the Johnson building were landmarked as well.  Therefore any proposed changes to the landmarked portions of the Johnson Building must be reviewed by the Commission.

The project was first presented to the Landmarks Commission over the summer in a session that included several members of the public as well as supporters, many of whom spoke in favor of the project.  More recently specific elements of the project including the removal of the granite screen walls, the replacement of windows, and a preliminary landscaping plan were presented to the design subcommittee and later conditionally approved by the full committee with provisions that project team return with additional detail.

The project team will return to the Boston Landmarks Commission to present at the November and December hearings.

Below is a link to some of the letters of support that were written to the Boston Landmarks Commission on behalf of the project.

BLC Letters of Support compiled

Roundtable on November 14: Johnson Building Improvement Project

Posted on November 1st, 2013 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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BPLNovember14johnsonroundtable_750pxBoston Public Library continues its series of roundtable discussions to update library users and interested residents on the Johnson Building Improvement Project.

The first phase of project construction, which involves the second floor of the 700 Boylston Street building, will begin in December of this year. Highlights of the second-floor work include a new children’s library, teen area, updated reference services, a community reading area, and workspace for individual and collaborative efforts.

The next roundtable, the fourth in a series, will be held on Thursday, November 14, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street. The fourth roundtable will feature an overview of what the library services on the renovated second floor will include.

Download and share the PDF flyer about the meeting. If you are not able to join the November roundtable, you are always welcome to leave a comment on this blog or send an email to compass@bpl.org with your ideas.

Community Advisory Committee Recap: Johnson Building Improvement Project

Posted on October 21st, 2013 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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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.

At the October 18, 2013, Community Advisory Committee meeting.

At the October 18, 2013, Community Advisory Committee meeting.

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.

Model view of the Johnson Building mezzanine and first floor area closest to Exeter Street.

Model view of the Johnson Building mezzanine and first floor area closest to Exeter Street.

Moves Begin: Johnson Building Improvement Project

Posted on October 10th, 2013 by Mary Frances O'Brien in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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As we shared in our last timetable update, preparation for the construction and renovation is actively underway. Here are some specifics:

  • Thursday, October 10: The reference desk on the second floor of the Johnson Building will relocate to the Boylston Room on the second floor of the McKim Building.
  • Tuesday, October 15: The second floor of the Johnson Building will be closed beginning at 9 a.m.
  • Tuesday, October 15: The Microtext desk will move to the Washington Room on the second floor of the McKim Building and be closed to the public for that day. Microtext service will resume on October 16.
  • Week of October 15: The move of second-floor materials to the first floor will begin.

The entire move is expected to take 5-6 weeks and portions of the collection may be temporarily unavailable during some of that time. Once books are on the first floor, they will be fully browsable. In the meantime, we encourage Central Library patrons to make book requests via the library’s catalog, which will give library staff time time to pull books from second-floor shelves.

Roundtable on October 21: Johnson Building Improvement Project

Posted on October 1st, 2013 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects
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2013BPLOctober21roundtableBoston Public Library continues its series of roundtable discussions to update library users and interested residents on the Johnson Building Improvement Project.

The third roundtable will be an online community chat available via www.bpl.org/compass on Monday, October 21, at 6:00 p.m. A fourth roundtable will be held on Thursday, November 14, at 6:00 p.m. in the Boston Room Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square.

Download and share the PDF flyer about the meetings.

The first roundtable in the series was held on August 15. Read the August roundtable recap and the original July announcement of all four roundtables in the series. The second roundtable was held on September 25 and included an overview of library services during the first phase of construction, which begins in December 2013.

If you are not able to join the October online roundtable, you are welcome to leave a comment on this blog, send an email to compass@bpl.org with your ideas, visit the project display at the Central Library, or mail a letter via U.S. Post to Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02116.