This studio will focus on a room. More specifically, our speculations will concern the room that sits within those cultural and institutional programs that call for a form of collective space. One might think of the courtroom in a courthouse, the assembly space in a city hall, the waiting room in a train station, the auditorium in a theater, or numerous other spaces and programs that depend on an especially significant space to serve, define, or otherwise beckon an institution’s greater aims.

Our room — in essence our program — will be a new reading room for an existing library: The Central Boston Public Library in Copley Square. Our site will adjoin the existing building at its north-east corner and extend into Copley Square. While we will work on a library and its reading room, ‘the library’ will be not be our topic. This program and its specificities will serve instead as a means through which to explore the nature of significant interior cultural spaces in the context of important institutional organizations today. 

There are several reasons for the room being our focus. The studio will center on how we conceive of public life in relation to the workings of contemporary institutions. The emphasis will be on interior public space, complementing well-established discourses that engage exterior public space. By framing the studio in narrower programmatic terms, architectural outcomes will come forward in more explicit ways and through more natural and less harried means. The room’s circumscribed implications will allow us to wholly explore the ways that architects constitute architecture: walls, floors, ceilings, and the things that churn among them. For many architects (certainly for me) such rooms loom large in why architecture initially tempted us down its road…and continues to tug us forward as a worthy pursuit. Finally, there is an altogether visceral, and pleasurable, aspect to these rooms. They always entice with qualities that exceed their, and perhaps even our, reasons for being.

Studio methods will include seminar-style discussions, desk crits, reviews, and excursions to nearby rooms on campus and in Boston.