Boston Public Library: Dudley Branch

Utile's work on The Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library proceeded on two fronts. Phase I consisted of the design of entry marquee and site improvements. Construction of this phase is to be complete in Fall 2013. Phase II centered on a comprehensive feasibility assessment, programming study and concept design for the rehabilitation of the building as a whole. This study establishes the framework for the eventual renovation of the Dudley Branch.

It is a common quip that the Dudley Branch is one of the only libraries without a front door. Indeed, the entry to the library is tucked behind a stair and is difficult to find. The entrance design centers on a new marquee that calls out this entry to create a welcoming beacon for the library. The marquee - made up of backlit custom printed perforated aluminum - fills an urgent wayfinding need for the library.

This first phase of the study entailed a feasibility analysis of the existing building to assess its suitability in any future work. This scope also identified critical issues with the existing building that, if carefully considered, have significant potential to transform and enhance the library. The Compass, the planning document developed by the BPL, served as a living document that ensured all efforts in this process were consistent with the objectives of the BPL. The study concluded with conceptual designs for the library. These efforts sought to consolidate the various complex issues into a clear and organized design that enhanced the existing building and better integrated it with its burgeoning Dudley Square neighborhood.