Library Architects to Be Honored for the Award Winning Structure

December 23, 2014
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The East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library and the architects who designed it will be honored by the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) at its annual gala. Each year the BSA, often in collaboration with other organizations, sponsors awards programs to honor design excellence in Massachusetts, throughout New England and elsewhere.

William Rawn Associates Architects is a finalist to receive the Harleston Parker Medal award at the BSA’s Design Award Gala on January 29 at the Intercontinental in Boston for its work on the East Boston Library on Bremen Street. The Harleston Parker Medal award was established in 1921 by J. Harleston Parker in memory of his father. The first award was granted by the BSA in 1923. The intent of the award is to acknowledge the most beautiful piece of architecture, building, monument, or structure within the City of Boston or Metropolitan Parks District limits.

The $17.25 million library opened November 2013 and recently celebrated its one year anniversary in the neighborhood located at the corner of Bremen and Prescott Streets facing the Bremen Street Park.

In October the library and William Rawn Associates earned the prestigious LEED Gold certification.

Established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the world’s foremost certification program for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of green buildings.

The new branch serves the entire community with more than double the combined public space of the former two branches it replaced. Both the Meridian Street and Orient Heights Branches closed once the new branch opened.

William Rawn Associates designed the sustainable building that merges indoor and outdoor spaces and has redefined the experience of the library. Architects Mark Oldham and Carla Ceruzzi were responsible for the design, which is a sleek non-linear building with a wave-like roof, open floor plans, huge windows that overlook the Bremen Street Park and outdoor classroom and reading spaces

The library includes a community reading room with spectacular views of the park and the downtown Boston skyline. The brand-new facility boasts dedicated areas for adults, children, and teens, in addition to a quiet reading room, conference room, and community space for multipurpose programs. A reading porch runs the length of the building along the park, providing outdoor space for reading, congregating, and using the wireless Internet network, a feature of all Boston Public Library locations.

The diversity of Eastie is signified and celebrated by stone pavers on the exterior of the Branch that show the name and distance to the capital cities of the top 21 countries of origin of the residents of the neighborhood. As part of the sustainable design of the library, storm water from the roof and site is directed to three “learning gardens” along the side of the Eastie Branch. At each garden is an interpretive panel which tells visitors about the sustainable aspects of the Branch and the gardens.

The library building earned LEED certification for green design and construction in the areas of energy use, lighting, water, and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies.

These features include water conservation through storm water management, rainwater collection, underground recharge tanks, and low-flow bathroom fixtures and sustainably harvested and certified wood. There is also underfloor ventilation and conditioning, a reflective roof, high-performance glass, and daylight harvesting/dimming and occupancy sensors.

Seventy-five percent of construction waste was recycled and use of low emitting materials and materials with recycled content.