Boston Public Library
- Machado Silvetti
- 300 North Harvard Street Allston , 02134 Allston, Massachusetts
- 1M - 100M
- 1-5 Stories
The new Boston Public Library Allston Branch is one of twenty-seven branches that provide an important outreach to Boston’s neighborhoods. Historically, this building type has been characterized by a casual, democratic expression, a latent tendency that was reinforced by the library’s site along a heavily trafficked thoroughfare lined with wood residences, brick warehouses, and scattered commercial buildings. The client also placed specific demands on the building, among them requirements for a separate entry for community use and a one-story configuration to maximize visual supervision on the inside. Responding to these various conditions, the 22,000 square foot building’s parti is divided into three parallel bands aligning with the main street — two “solid” zones and one central void. The front zone contains all the active, information-gathering program components, including the stacks. The rear zone contains all of the meeting spaces, which have off-hours community use. The middle zone is very transparent, with alternating gardens and glass pavilion reading rooms. On the front of the library, the periodicals reading room is treated as a double-height additive piece that emphasizes the institution’s importance through its scale and rich palette, which includes slate panels, shingles, and rough sculpings. The library reaffirms a sense of urbanity by opening towards the street with a long horizontal band of windows. Passing through the front entrance, patrons arrive at a vantage point where the organization of the entire library unfolds before them, discovering the three inner gardens at the heart of the building.