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Honan-Allston Branch, Boston Public Library

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2001, Machado and Silvetti Associates. 300 N. Harvard St.

The large airy open space of the Honan-Allston Branch Library, one of the first new branches of the Boston Public Library (BB42) in two decades, throngs with readers of all ages, a cross-section of the neighborhood's diversity. Located on a main thoroughfare lined with wood-frame houses, the library conforms to the low-rise scale. Its subtle massing and sophisticated use of varied surfaces—uncoursed slate, wooden shingles and cladding, leadcoated copper panels, and glass—make the one-story structure seem loftier. Exterior irregularity gives way to a coherent geometric pattern within. Recalling Alvar Aalto's architecture and incorporation of nature, light overtakes the interior, enhanced by three garden courts, in reality outdoor reading rooms. The periodicals area, defined by the raised roof on the outside, forms a sector away from the main traffic. The branch holds the promise of becoming a vital community center, a place for the gathering and exchange of information and a tribute to Mayor Tom Menino, a promoter of neighborhood libraries. In 2003, the library was dedicated to the late Boston city council member Brian Honan.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan

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