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Community Advisory Committee Recap: Johnson Building Improvement Project

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

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.

Johnson Building Improvement Project: CAC meeting recap

Posted on June 20th, 2013 by Eamon Shelton in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects

2013-06-18 CAC meeting

 

Earlier this month, Community Advisory Committee members joined BPL staff, representatives from the City of Boston Property and Construction Management Department (PCM), and William Rawn and Associates Architects Inc. (WRA) to review progress and to discuss the Johnson Improvement Project.

Maureen Anderson from PCM outlined plans for the initial phase of the project which would include the entire 2nd floor of the Johnson Building. Should the City of Boston’s FY14 capital budget be approved as submitted, design could begin this summer and initial construction could begin over the winter.

Cliff Gayley from WRA presented updated computer generated renderings of the lobby and exterior. WRA highlighted the various ways in which the design team had been collecting input including through meetings with the Community Advisory Committee, work sessions, community groups, the local design community, historical societies, as well as through public and staff surveys.  Additional suggestions were collected from the Community Advisory Committee.

Johnson Improvement Project: CAC meeting postposed

Posted on April 29th, 2013 by Nancy Grilk in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Johnson Improvement Project scheduled for May 8th has been postponed.

A rescheduled meeting will be posted once the date is set.

Johnson Improvement Project: Community Advisory Committee Meeting

Posted on March 28th, 2013 by Nancy Grilk in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Johnson Improvement Project will meet on Monday, April 8, at 8:30 a.m. in the Boston Room of the Johnson Building, Central Library in Copley Square, 700 Boylston Street.

Community Advisory Committee Members

Community Advisory Committee 4-8-13 Agenda (posted April 4)

 

Johnson Building Improvement Project: CAC meeting notes

Posted on February 28th, 2013 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects

At this week’s (Tuesday, February 26) Community Advisory Committee meeting, community members gathered to explore options on how best to improve library services and space utilization of the Johnson Building at the Central Library in Copley Square. The building opened in 1972 and was designed by the late architect Philip Johnson.

Library President Amy E. Ryan reviewed the project goals and stated how important it was to have the community involved in helping the library explore options to make recommendations for the FY14 capital planning initiatives.

Architects William Rawn Associates led a discussion about Philip Johnson’s design principles highlighted by a series of quotes from the late architect. The principles, referred to as “Johnsonian Principles” are:

  • procession: anticipation – sense of event from exterior
  • procession: moment of arrival – coherent experience from front door
  • procession: ascent – celebrated vertical circulation
  • scale: respect and experimentation
  • monumentality in the city – civic urban presence
  • structure and rationality – structural clarity in planning

The architects described the structure of the Johnson Building and identified areas where the natural light was best. They also shared images of other interesting libraries from around the world and the community members discussed how the Johnson Building might have a better, more active relationship with Boylston Street.

Library staff reported on the types of services and functions that under consideration for each floor. Many of the ideas and suggestions came from previous Community Advisory Committee meetings as well as input from library staff members. Highlights included an updated lobby as well as a popular browsing area. (Editor’s note: both of these topics will be discussed further in future posts to this blog.)

Community members offered several suggestions and ideas for the project. Members discussed the attractiveness of a dedicated space for casual book discussion, reading recommendations, and small author talks. They also considered options for relocating the children’s and teen areas.

The meeting concluded with a brief enterprise discussion. Boston Public Library has engaged consultants to study the feasibility of commercial enterprise and the viability of a conference center within the library. Committee members emphasized the importance of identifying an enterprise opportunities that are compatible with the library mission. They also discussed maintaining a “porous” environment to integrate the enterprise with library services and to help energize the building. The next Community Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 13 at 8:30 a.m. The enterprise discussion will continue at that meeting.