Posted on March 18th, 2014 by David Leonard in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
Tags: Back Bay, Copley Square, Sustainable Organization, User-Centered Institution
Two of the Central Library Renovation Project’s key goals for master planning were to: “connect the library to the city,” and “to create an inviting first impression.” To put it mildly, these are unquestionably weak spots of the original Philip Johnson design, and goals which set high expectations for the renovations on the exterior of the building.
Components of the exterior renovation, now entering their final design stages include removal of almost all of the defensive granite screens on Boylston, Exeter and Blagden Streets, some of which may have a new but subtler life as paving elements. Additional features will include remodeled entrances, more energy efficient and transparent glass, with a less imposing framing structure, exterior furniture (including bike racks) and signage allowing the library experience to truly start on the outside of the building. Another creative proposal involves the use of high-limbed trees, to add a natural counterpoint to and reduce the severity of the building, all the while retaining appropriate levels of symmetry with the McKim building.
The planning team looks forward to continue its conversations with the Boston Landmarks Commission, who have jurisdiction over certain pieces of the project, and with neighborhood groups such as the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NAAB) and many others. After all, statistics tell us that even today, in addition to users who consider the Central Library their main branch, 47% of all systemwide users also use the Central Library in addition to their neighborhood branch.
Renderings of the Johnson Building exterior improvements. Inset image: a view depicting Boylston Street from vantage point of Exeter Street.
Posted on March 17th, 2014 by firstname.lastname@example.org in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
Tags: Back Bay, Center of Knowledge, Copley Square, Reference, Research
Let us help you, your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues with research questions and projects, information-gathering for work or for play, or with that trivia question that’s been driving you mad. Our brand new Research Desk on the renovated second floor of the Johnson Building will be open and modern in style, a welcoming spot where you can work with Library staff on the topics that interest you most. The area was designed to meet the needs of the researcher who may need a table on which to spread out and delve into books and materials, or a place to get help using the BPL’s dozens of online resources to hunt for jobs, scholarly journals, e-books, historical newspapers, genealogy, car repair videos, small business tips, or language learning programs. With brightly colored carpeting, textured ceiling, flexible study tables and seating, the Research area will be easy to spot from the top of the stairs near the 2nd floor elevators, or from the path into the Johnson Building from McKim. The reference collection and Research Desk will also share a serendipitous proximity to the Teen space that will make homework and project help even more convenient for teens and their families.
Posted on March 10th, 2014 by Gina Perille in Branches, Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
Tags: Back Bay, Copley Square, East Boston
A pair of Boston Public Library’s major projects have been in the news recently. The Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell wrote a review of the new East Boston Branch. In his review, Mr. Campbell wrote:
“This is the best small contemporary library I’ve seen anywhere.”
“Architecture always embodies a message. Here in East Boston, the message is a metaphor. The library floor is like a piece of land shared by many kinds of people under a soft bright sky. It embodies the truth, or maybe the hope, that with all our many differences we can be one community.”
The New York Times New England Bureau chief Katharine Q. Seelye wrote a feature article about the Central Library renovation.The sub-heading of Ms. Seelye’s article is “Boston and other cities turn sanctuary of the past into an information center of the future.” In the article, Ms. Seelye wrote:
“With a major renovation underway, this Copley Square institution is breaking out of its granite shell to show an airier, more welcoming side to the passing multitudes.”
Posted on March 7th, 2014 by Beth Prindle in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
Tags: Back Bay, Children and Teens, Copley Square
Ask the BPL’s youngest visitors about the most exciting area currently under construction? It’s the new Children’s Library on the second floor, of course. At 9,500 square feet, this expansive and welcoming new space for kids and caregivers will be nearly double the size of the current children’s room. The Children’s Library will be filled with opportunities for children to read, create, play, explore, and learn together. Plans for a dedicated area for infants and toddlers feature cozy furniture, stacks of books and toys for little ones, and a variety of experience-based learning materials designed to stimulate young minds. Story time for young readers will be extra-special as they explore the land of make believe in a custom-built nook. The spacious program room calls out for kid creativity with room for crafts, performances, workshops, and much more. Tweens will have their own dedicated space for homework, reading, and hanging out with friends. And that’s not all—more fun, whimsical surprises are in the works.
A rendering of the new Children’s Library.
Posted on March 5th, 2014 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects, Technology
Tags: Access and Innovation, Back Bay, Copley Square
The Johnson Building is arranged in a nine-square gird. Imagine Boylston Street as being at the bottom of this image, underneath the letters H – A – B.
Included in the renovation plans for the first floor of the Johnson Building is an updated and improved Tech Central area. Today, Tech Central is in and to the left as you enter the Central Library via Boylston Street.
Using the image at right as a guide to the first floor, Tech Central occupies the G area today. The current plan is to move it to the E section and a bit into the F section with additional computers and expanded work space for library staff to assist library users with their technology questions. A new set of restrooms is also planned for the F area on the first floor.
Another new feature planned is bar-style seating at the back window of the E section, which faces a small sunlight garden on the Blagden Street side of the Central Library.