BLC Approves DAS Node Near Public Garden

The Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) on August 23 approved the replacement of an existing light pole with a DAS node near the Boston Public Garden, as well as approved the installation of an elevator at the Sunday School Building in the Christian Science Center Complex.

DAS Node

Attorney Rick Sousa, who represented ExteNet Systems, proposed to replace the existing light pole “near the intersection of Beacon St. and Arlington St. adjacent to the Public Garden” with a new black pendant pole with a SAD antenna at the top.

The BLC and Boston’s other Landmarks Commissions have seen several of these proposals recently, as cell phone carriers aim to increase their coverage for residents and visitors.

Sousa proposed that the radio cabinet equipment would be located at the base of the poke. “This design is consistent with others we’ve done in the Back Bay,” he said.

Joe Cornish, Director of Design Review for the BLC said that other poles were “approved with side mounted equipment instead. I suggest doing that here as well.”

Sousa said that ExteNet is “very amenable to that,” and several of the Commissioners agreed that consistency throughout the neighborhood was necessary.

No public comment was made about the proposal, and the Commission approved it with the proviso that the equipment be mounted on the side of the pole instead of on the base.

Sunday School Building at 235 Huntington Ave.

Architect Nat Crosby presented an updated proposal for the elevator to be installed at the Sunday School Building in the Christian Science Center Complex. The team was before the Commission last month with a proposal to enclose the existing archway with glass and use that as an elevator vestibule, but the Commission requested that a different proposal be presented, preferably one where the vestibule could be located internally so as to not enclose the archway.

The purpose of this elevator is to provide an accessible entrance to the parking garage. This building is used by the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO).

This month, Crosby proposed to install the elevator in a “similar location as it was before,” but the vestibule would be located “internally.”

“A new opening will be cut into the exterior wall within the archway,” according to a slide presented. “A new all glass door within the new opening will allow access to the interior elevator vestibule. The walking finishes in the exterior archway will remain the field of the

Plaza brick paving.”

This design would allow the archway to remain fully open, and the existing light fixtures would remain.

“Personally, looking at what was proposed versus this, this seems to be the least disruptive,” said Commissioner David Berarducci. He said that while this change is “not necessarily reversible,” he doesn’t “see the need to reverse an accessible entry.” He said he likes that the archway would remain open.

Crosby said that there are concerns with “limited visibility into the vestibule” with this proposal, as it is not as easy to see into the vestibule as it was with the previous proposal.

Architect Lan Ying Ip said that the BYSO shared these concerns, as did the Church of Christ Scientist. She said there are also concerns regarding “public flow and safety in the plaza.”

Ip said that in the previous proposal, it was :clearly evident who was in the vestibule waiting for the elevator from the plaza,” but this new proposal “does create a bit of a hidden condition.”

Ip added that “they prefer the previous proposal, but we are trying to be responsive to your concerns” by offering this new option.

“For me, it is a big improvement over the last one,” said Commissioner Brad Walker. He said that “you can see what’s going on in there if you take a couple steps in. If you made it a little wider to eliminate those foreground corners, that would be fine.”

Ip said that the team is “planning on doing exploratory work” for this proposal to ensure that it would actually be feasible.

Berarducci also talked about materials and finishes, saying that the elevator door should be bronze to match the elevator approved for the church. He also wanted to know what the ceiling material for the vestibule would be.

“If you’re going to come back for the detail with the finishing of the cuts of the concrete,” he said, “maybe show us what’s being planned for that as well.”

The Commission approved the design with the proviso that the team return “with the fleshing out of these details.”

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