Swerve

2023


Extension for the Boston Public library in Charlestown (MA), designed by Eduardo Catalano in 1970. The proposal hollows out the interior of the existing library and imagines an abundance of tight spaces on the other face of the street.

While in a conventional diptych, the conversation happens in difference of readings, we imagine the reading of our addition to be never be read as a double. There is no difference because everything is different. It serves rather as a counterpoint, as a unit of measurement for the Catalano building.

Catalano’s public library is a shell that stands on a four pins. It’s base, is a solid plinth, which serves as a virtually inexhaustible horizontal datum. This plinth and the concrete shell above sit on a sloped site but resist any urge to address this ground. We recognized early on that the interior space goes against the grain of the one-room intention of Catalano - the formal movement in the North south direction, which makes this a conceptually open project and virtually extendible is undercut by its own interior layout.

Our work further problematizes the qualities found in Kahn’s Motherhouse or Stirling’s Wissenschaftzentrum in a compressed space. We put pressure on the program as well as the residue. We achieve the quantitative doubling, although by not explicitly making the doubling look like one. The library shifts its character now, by expanding into a small neighborhood resource of books.


collaboration w/ Malvin Wibowo Bunata & Yiqun Wang