Boston Public Library, Mattapan Branch | Notes of Interest

Located in a 96% minority neighborhood with a significant immigrant population, this Urban Branch Library follows the Mayor’s iniative to bring important civic buildings to the city’s more diverse neighborhoods.

With significant amounts of glass looking onto a major urban street, this stone and brick building creates a strong civic presence that is open and inviting to the community. The building’s interior reflects this same sense of invitation in each of its major spaces. The main Reading Room, with its high ceiling, warm wood shelving, and “sun grillage,” creates a welcoming space for adults to work quietly. The Children’s Room and Young Adults Room each provide colorful and active spaces flanking an outdoor courtyard. A Community Room, wrapped in warm wood, allows the library to serve the community beyond library hours. Reflecting the importance of the teenage population to the local community, this library provides the largest young adult space of any regional public library. This Young Adults Room has been designed as an oasis, a lively (and acoustically) enclosed space with robust technology encouraging heavy use after school and during the weekends.

It holds a strong civic presence with significant amounts of glass looking onto Blue Hill Avenue (the neighborhood’s main street), this stone and brick building is open and inviting to the community.

The architects worked with community members of all ages during numerous intensive design sessions to ensure the project would reflect the special character and unique needs of this urban community.

Additional Credit

  • Consultants: Acentech, Inc.; Cosentini Associates, Inc.; Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design, Inc.
  • Engineer: LeMessurier Consultants
  • General Contractor: WES Construction Corp.
  • Landscape Architect: Richard Burck Associates, Inc.
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Photo Credit

  • © Robert Benson Photography

Boston Public Library, Mattapan Branch (Urban Branch Library)

Category Three: Community-Informed Design Award

Jury Comments

They have taken all concerns and addressed them beautifully. This serves the community, and symbolically the building itself is a lantern for the community. It glows and guides visitors to it. It’s very clean and the separation of the community room from the main library was an intelligent move. It is a well lit, nicely colored, sound, wonderful building for the town to have.

2012 AIA/HUD Secretary's Awards Jury

  • Sandra A. LaFontaine, AIA, Chair
  • LaFontaine Architecture and Design
  • Worthington, Ohio
  • Allison Arieff
  • New York Times
  • San Francisco
  • Luis Borray, Assoc. AIA
  • U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Sara E. Caples, AIA
  • Caples Jefferson Architects
  • New York City
  • Regina C. Gray, PhD
  • U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Jerome King, FAIA
  • The Office of Jerome King
  • San Jose, California
  • Bill Moore, AIA
  • Sprocket Design Build, Inc.
  • Denver

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