Proponents of the Hood Park office building addition on top of the existing parking garage further defined a seventh floor public realm space, and said they would fix the light pollution issues that have exacted complaints from the neighborhood, during a meeting of the Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC) on Tuesday night.
The BCDC had met once before about the design of the office building addition on top of the existing parking garage, which was completed last year. After several recommendations, one of the key discussions was about the proposed public realm open space on the seventh floor – which is the top floor of the parking garage and would be at the foot of the proposed six-story lab addition on top of the garage.
Trademark Partners’ Mark Rosenshein and Architect Michael Pardek indicated the space would be a large open space they will consider part of the public realm, and likely would have a retail or restaurant use to accentuate the outstanding views of downtown that now exist there.
“This is going to be an extension of the public realm,” said Rosenshein. “We expect folks to come up and use this space. Right now, we’re talking to a restaurant and would like to think this would be activated in that space.”
Other parts of the seventh floor would include solar panels, which would also wrap around and cover the western facing side of the parking garage.
A key issue for the neighborhood is the fact that the lights inside the existing parking garage shine out to the homes along Rutherford Avenue – creating light pollution due to the fact that screening has not yet been installed on the southern-facing side of the garage.
Rosenshein said they have heard the complaints and plan to use the same “fin” structure to block out the light that is used on the northern side of the garage. He said those fins would block out the light from the neighborhood perspective, but would keep the garage open from other perspectives.
BCDC members suggested wrapping the panels partially around the southern-facing side as was done on the other side of the garage – which should also further block out any light pollution and give the garage design some consistency.
A great deal of time was also spent on the “motion” and “movement” in the design of the addition, which uses shaped “fins” to create the illusion of movement in the building as one circles around it.
“I think the skin strategy for the kind of building you have is very beautiful,” said BCDC Member David Hacin. “I think anything with more movement rather than less movement, and making the volume more dynamic on top than less, would be my bias.”
Others also agreed that the “movement” piece in the building’s skin was “dynamic” and “attractive.”
The addition would house 154,000 sq. ft. of additional lab/research space on top of the garage, which already boasts 65,000 sq. ft. of lab/research space on its second floor – a space that has been leased already.
A general Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) online meeting of the Impact Advisory Group (IAG) on the project has been scheduled for Monday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m.