Wentworth Institute of Technology



Jan '05 - Sep '06

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    old projects 002: Boston Book Archives + wsgBLT

    Michael Bellefeuille
    Oct 12, '05 10:52 PM EST
    One of the clubs I'm involved with at school is the student government, WSG, which is considering putting a freestanding bulleting board in the lobby of Beatty Hall on campus. The idea for a freestanding board is based on the fact that few students take the time to look at the existing bulletin boards in the lobby, which are often blocked by folding tables anyway. A freestanding bulletin board would draw attention, and the desire to make it inviting resulted in us coming up with a curved shape. We're still looking for a name for it, but someone referred to it as the "Beatty lobby thing." I shortened it to BLT. Here's an early rendering:



    Boston Book Archives
    The next old project I wanted to post is the Boston Book Archives, a facade-based design project from last year for a renovation and expansion of the end of the State Street Block in front of the Custom House Tower in downtown Boston. The building would house a [n]book archives[/b], which was the most program-driven project we had been assigned at that point. Below is a photo of the existing building, showing the exposed brick wall to be replaced with the new expansion/renovation, the surrounding context, as well as the gradual and seemingly spontaneous or organic growth on the roof of the building.


    It was this "organic" growth on the roof that inspired my design. My goal was to reference the small additions on the roof as well as the greater expansion and growth of the city of Boston itself in the new building by giving the facade and interior spaces the feeling of organic and gradual growth. I thought of this especially in the way that ivy grows up a building, taking on an irregular shape. This was expressed in my concept statement:

    The Natural Urban Fabric
    The built environment grows out of one point of origin, building upon itself and expanding in all directions in natural forms. These forms may be varied, but they always mimic those already found in nature. The city of Boston is as organic as American cities come, and thus its natural forms are more distinguished. The State Street Block is no different””despite the rigidity of the building's original design, the roof has been host to numerous additions done in different architectural styles over a period of decades. The new façade on the building's east end will express this idea of natural growth””of a gradual additive process. It will be evident on all levels that the façade acts not as one single unit, but as a cluster of objects and parts, which will appear to have grown from the original building and the city around it.

    Here are some images from the project, which as with the bus shelter are not always that great:

    Exterior perspective from the Rose Kennedy Greenway

    Section through the main reading room, first floor gallery space and smaller reading and gathering spaces, with a view of one staircase in the background.

    This section isn't a very attractive drawing, but it does an alright job showing the different spaces and volumes within the building.

    A particularly bad interior perspective of one of the wood-clad gathering spaces that extends out from the concrete building. The perspective is off and the interior is too empty. oh well.

    Front view of the model showing the different masses, which create various spaces inside for book storage, reading areas, gathering areas, gallery space, and service and circulation spaces. This photo was taken by Lora Kim

    Back view of the model showing the interior spaces created by the "organic" masses. The intent here was that visitors to the book archives would experience the spaces and understand them as some sort of organic or gradual growth in the same way a passerby would view and understand the building's exterior masses. This photo was also taken by Lora Kim

    View of the model from eye level on the street at the building's entrance. This view gives a good idea of what the building might look like lit at night with large solid areas of concrete, punctured by boxed masses extending from the building terminating in an open glass end. Again, credit to Lora Kim for the photo

    This was one of my favorite projects to work on and although I think it remained relatively simple, it is one of my least minimalistic design projects. I think I have yet to come up with a design that feels as organic and irregular as this one.

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