For those who may have missed it, our friends and client at the French Cultural Center of Boston (aka: Alliance Francaise) celebrated French Independence in style (once again) this past Friday with their neighborhood-rocking 5-hour block party on Marlborough Street, in the heart of the Back Bay of Boston. There’s nothing that rocks the Boston Brahmin neighborhood quite like the annual FCC-sponsored Bastille Day soiree featuring some of the best emerging talent in global Francophile music.
In 2010, we – in association with Hartnessvision of Cambridge | MA – prepared for the French Cultural Center (FCC) Executive staff and Board a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the FCC library into a state-of-the-art meeting and learning facility that helps further propel the FCC’s reputation as one of the leading French “e-libraries” outside of France. Our design proposal, “L’Espace Portail” or “Gateway Space,” reconceives the library as a virtual information and social gateway to connect the FCC members in Boston with other global communities within the Alliance Francaise network and beyond.
Key challenges for this design study included addressing Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB, 521 CMR) requirements to provide universal access to the public and educational facilities to literally broaden the FCC’s access to the Greater Boston Community, and vice-versa. The transformation of the extant library facilities into a new and globally interconnected facility – both virtually and physically – is an important step for the FCC as it plans for its next century in its Charles Brigham-designed 1860s building.
Design Team: Hartnessvision, XChange Architects
Cost Estimating: Rider Levett Bucknall
Constructibility: Sleeping Dog Properties
All photos, images and drawings copyright Hartnessvision, French Cultural Center of Boston and XChange Architects LLC, unless otherwise noted.