The Adams Street Branch Library is nestled into one of Boston’s great working-class neighborhoods and is set at a focal point where Adams Street bends, making its presence a marker for the neighborhood. The concept of the library is changing rapidly with more of a need for community space, spaces of collaboration, meeting, and exchange
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Global Future Design Awards 2021
Adams Street Branch Library
Institutional Architecture Built
Boston, MA, U.S.
This library reaches its mission by redefining the focus of the neighborhood library. The library mandate was to make porous connections to the street and ensure accessibility to all. A single pitch monumentalizes the transparent façade on Adams Street, while a breakdown of peaked roofs in the rear matches the scale of the residential neighborhood. The folded roof draws rainwater towards the east, creating a watershed in a new pedestrian landscape. The use of multiple terra-cotta glazes allows the materials to respond to their immediate contexts and speak to a history of New England Greek Revival and brick-ended public buildings. By extracting a wedge out of the southern portion of the site we draw in light and air into the center of the building and create a garden of native plants. Another garden in the north framing an existing heritage oak tree is a featured view from both the community room and the circulation desk at the building’s panoptic center. Quiet reading areas within the library lie tangent to the gardens with views to the neighborhood.