North Scituate Public Library

October 17th, 2011

In this classic New England village setting, the North Scituate Public Library holds the memories of all the residents of North Scituate who have used it since 1925. The modest 1,600 sf addition and renovation to the original building retain the beauty of the library’s historical charm while bringing it into the 21st century to support the growing population.

The exterior prominently features the archive room which is clad in slate panels to portray the importance of the collection within. Another feature of the project is the addition of a large meeting room which will not only serve as a gathering place for events for the community but also as an art gallery where local artists can display their work. Large windows on each side of the library allow the community to look in and provide framed views of the village center from inside. A centrally-located circulation desk and a new books and media at the entrance provide a flexible space for visitors to encounter and interact with each other.

The library worked with local organizations and individuals to create new garden areas which enhance the beauty of the village, including the rain garden, designed to blend seamlessly into the traditional New England landscape. Through a careful renovation of the existing space and a modest but thoughtful addition, the library will continue to be a vital resource for the town for decades to come.

Photography by Aaron Usher III Photography

RI Division of Motor Vehicles

December 10th, 2009

The three-story, 69,000 sf building, located in the Pastore Government Center of Cranston, had been in continuous use as an office facility for the State’s Department of Human Services since its construction in 1970. During that time several building systems had been repaired and upgraded, including the recent replacement of exterior glazing. Conversion of the building to serve the DMV required a multi-faceted plan to maximize efficiency, quality, and safety.

A large part of programming involved meticulous study of the various functions of the DMV, organized and presented to the State in a comprehensive programming document for cost and space analysis. Programming designs required the ability to process a large quantity of public patrons, accounted for via enhanced entrances able to accommodate large numbers of patrons and staff. The large lobby and atrium opens up to a custom-designed 12’ wide monumental stair of architectural grade steel and art glass. A series of linear zones provides logical, legible separation of activity, complemented with an integral way-finding system at all intersections which creates controlled circulation patterns. A two-sided elliptical license and registration service counter promotes the even distribution of patrons and provides heightened control of views and privacy. The design is sensitive to accessibility by eliminating ramps, instead utilizing gently-sloped walkways and universally-designed service counter heights. This focus on creating organizational strategies carried into furniture layouts, desk design, and circulation patterns, intended to eliminate confusion and crowding while streamlining the process for everyone.

Maintaining a clear view to the natural day lighting of the atrium brings much-welcomed light into the core of the building, with potential glare from the curtain wall mitigated through the use of vertical exterior sun-shading devices, which act as super signage for the highway. Excavation of former below-grade space and the introduction of windows further open the building to daylight.Custom lighting reiterates the grid-like organization of the building, with recessed lighting that highlights the linear zones of circulation, and pendants and bollards that demarcate movement and waiting areas. State of the art energy efficient systems, enhanced security consistent with the latest National Homeland Security regulations, and all-inclusive renovation of building systems complete this thorough adaptive reuse project.

Photography by Warren Jagger Photography

Acton Town Hall

December 8th, 2009

The historic Town Hall in Acton, Massachusetts was built in 1862 in the Italianate style, a 2 ½ story gable form facing the historic Common. A commanding façade, the 3-bay main face is highlighted by a decorative entrance porch, Palladian-style window and two stage cupola with a concave pyramidal roof topped by a weathervane. The original slate roof had served the building well for almost 145 years when the Town made the decision to replace it. Working with the Town facilities department, LLB Architects created measured drawings and construction details to faithfully replace the roofing material with new slate. In a later project, LLB was hired to create documents for preservation painting work. These projects shall help to maintain this historic structure for the next 150 years to maintain this historic structure for the next 150 years.

J. Walter Wilson Student Resource Building at Brown University

November 17th, 2009

The J. Walter Wilson Laboratory is located at the corner of Brown and Waterman Streets, across from the Faunce Arch, with the opportunity of being a gateway building to the campus. The original building, a 1960’s modern brick and limestone monolith, and the 1980’s brick pier addition with mirrored glazing, never engaged the campus despite its optimal location.

Recasting the former laboratory as a student resource building and vibrant communications hub required a multi-faceted approach. At the entrance, LLB Architects removed the bifurcated exterior brick stairs and shifted the entrance from the second floor to the first floor, cleared out many of the exterior masonry and concrete walls to allow light and views to enter the lower entry level, and removed the inelegant diagonal between the two towers. In its place, we extended the glass curtain wall up to form a “beacon-like” tower. This allows building inhabitants to visually connect with the campus around them. The campus community can in turn visually and physically connect with the new communications hub.

The 66,000 sf program for the J. Walter Wilson adaptive reuse project included relocating and consolidating eleven different administrative and student service departments from buildings scattered around campus to enable other capital projects to move forward; relocating campus mail services, with the associated service deliveries, volume of traffic, and security considerations; providing eight to twelve registrar classrooms; and coordinating with campus chiller project planned to occupy the top floor. A new entrance and legible circulation were not required parts of the program, but seemed essential to a successful solution.

Designed as a purpose-built laboratory building, with rigorous 10-foot structural grid, tilt-up concrete shear walls and labyrinthian circulation, the bunker-like architecture strongly resisted transformation to support its rebirth as a communications hub for the campus. The overriding charge to the team for this project was that, as an “enabling” project to allow other slated capital projects to move forward, the schedule was absolutely fixed. With the construction manager as the architect’s partner as a design/build team, they worked closely to ensure that budget and schedule were met along with the design objectives. Together the team developed detailed phasing to bring portions online, with the occupancy and full functionality of the building complete before classes started in September 2008.

Photography by Warren Jagger Photography

English Department at Brown University

November 16th, 2009

The expansion of the historic Wheaton House creates a new place and creates a place and identity for the Department of English, the largest academic department at Brown University, which had been scattered around the campus in various buildings. The site is a mixed residential and university neighborhood in Providence’s historic College Hill, adjacent to Brown University’s Main Green.

The primary design objective was to design a contextual response to the existing 9,000 sf Wheaton House while reestablishing Fones Alley as a defined urban space. The Samuel B. Wheaton House was built as a single-family residence in 1850 at the corner of Brown and Angell Streets. The 2.5 story brick Italianate structure was originally built for a wholesale grocer and later was populary named the Carr House when it became the home of Carr’s Catering, a well-known institution on the East Side. A new 29,000 sf addition on the Wheaton House integrates the large program sensitively into the campus and residentially-scaled neighborhood.

Lead-coated-copper clad connectors are recessed between sensitively-scaled brick pavilions to preserve the integrity of the original house. The thoughtful massing of the design reduces the scale of the project within a constricted site and neighborhood.

The building’s halves, housing the English Department and Creative Writing program, are conceptually bridged across Fones Alley by mirroring entry arcades and window bays. The two buildings fill in the formerly nondescript end of Fones Alley and reinstitute the mews-like character of the alley.

The largest interior room is the black-box theater for lectures and student productions. An upper gallery provides three-dimensional use of the space as well as a sound and light booth. Other theatre components include a “green” room, dressing rooms and storage. A total of 49 faculty offices and 18 teaching assistant offices are included in the building’s plan along with a “smart classroom” that utilizes the latest technology and flexible seating arrangements adaptable for traditional teaching methods.

In keeping with Gertrude Stein’s quotation on the building, “And then there is using everything,”… LLB achieved an integration of modern and historic elements into a harmonious whole.

Photography by Warren Jagger Photography

Xavier Auditorium at Johnson & Wales University

November 15th, 2009

Xavier Academy Hall was originally built decades ago as a Catholic school on a site bordered by an industrial district and a university campus. Johnson & Wales University, the current owner, sought to revitalize the space, which was used minimally due to its existing condition. The University asked Lerner Ladds + Bartels to renovate the auditorium space in order to create a 500+ seating venue for university functions and gatherings, as well as a legitimate theater for student use. LLB redesigned the Hall’s exterior with a swooping ribbed metal awning evoking the bordering industrial area, with dramatic uplighting suggesting theatrical spotlights. The new lighting scheme also encourages evening activity, and redefines the building and auditorium as a focal point on campus.

The interior theater space received a full renovation, with the rake of the auditorium and balcony adjusted and seating layout reconfigured to ensure that each of the 553 seats has a good view of the stage. Paying close attention to acoustics, LLB designed a series of panels and screens to flank the stage, reflecting sound into the audience while concealing speakers and lighting and effectively expanding the proscenium enclosure to embrace the extended stage. Other features include a new state-of-the-art A/V system with distance-learning capabilities, a new HVAC system, increased ADA accessibility, and a new set of lavatories, making the theater a self-sufficient entity in the evening.

Photography by Warren Jagger Photography

Jamestown Residence and Studio

November 15th, 2009

The requirement for a large glass studio and a separate, but connected, family residence suggested the form and arrangement of this Jamestown hybrid. Drawing from the language of traditional New England forms, materials, and detailing, LLB nevertheless created a distinctly modern flow of spaces, siting, and geometrical relationships.

The two major volumes, and the entry foyer that connects them, frame an outdoor courtyard and are sited to “capture” the view toward the water. At the first floor level, the traditional shotgun house form is expanded by a curvilinear wall that runs the length of the building and integrates with the site.
A stair tower ending at a lookout platform creates a light-filled, multilevel space accentuated by open steel stairs, steel handrails, and glass infill panels designed and manufactured by the owner, a Rhode Island-based glass artist.

Read more about the project on Custom Home.

Photography by Warren Jagger Photography

Westlook Residence

November 14th, 2009

The owner sought a second-story addition to his flat-roofed, modern house to take advantage of the expansive vistas and to accommodate a guest suite. The new great room “wedge”, a reinterpretation of existing geometries, introduces a double-height volume that creates a formal hierarchy at the core of the house and a spatial connection to the sitting room above. The introduction of a massive masonry core, clad in local stone, roots the otherwise non-vernacular super-structure to the landscape of rocks and retaining walls. Views are framed through architectural elements to create a more dynamic and intimate relationship with the landscape.  

Westlook Studio

November 13th, 2009

This new art studio, which takes its geometry from the Westlook Residence “wedge” addition, is intended to be a garden element tucked into the landscape – almost invisible from the street and the main entry. The design was shaped not only by the functional considerations of a working art studio, but also by the preservation of a large tree and the carving of a private outdoor grotto into the sloping site.
Careful light control was imperative to the building’s function as an art studio, and its west façade is mostly opaque; a large northern skylight instead offers a gentle wash of indirect illumination ideal for artists. A custom-built rolling barn door on the southern façade also provides for easily variable light. In all cases, the stark formal geometry imposed by the precedent of the main house is inflected to respond to site and functional considerations. To reinforce the notion of verdant seclusion, the façade facing the main entrance of the house is gently curved and clad in the same stone as the retaining walls, to deflect the casual visitor. Over 80 tons of local stone were used to construct the three walls of the grotto, the curved south façade of the studio and the retaining walls.
The ideas of separation, retreat, and connection to the natural environment were key elements of the design.  

Watertown Free Public Library

November 12th, 2009

Architects Shaw & Hunnewell designed the original Watertown Free Public Library in 1884. Located prominently on Main Street in the heart of Watertown, this French Renaissance style structure has undergone several additions and renovations over the years. The most significant expansion occurred in 1956 with a modern brick and glass structure.

The new design by LLB Architects, fully implemented by August 2006 at a cost of $9 million, removed the later additions and restored the historic 6,000 sf red brick and brownstone library. The new 38,000 sf addition connects its main entrances with a two-story corridor/central spine that is washed with natural light from a skylight above, and provides a monumental stair connecting the two levels. The scale and materials of the addition are sensitive to the existing historic buildings. The design also reestablishes the street edge and creates a vibrant new urban green space showcasing the historic library structure.

Photography by Warren Jagger Photography