BLC Approves Several Projects

The Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) discussed several proposals at its July 26 virtual hearing, including one to include a new DAS node near the Boston Public Garden; one to erect a monument for David G. Mugar on the Esplanade; one to create an accessible front entrance at Jacob Wirth Restaurant; and one at the Sunday School Building at the Christian Science Center to enclose the northeast arched passage to create an elevator.

Boston Public Garden DAS Node Pole

Keenan Brinn spoke on behalf of ExteNet Systems to propose the replacement of a single pendant light pole on Charles St., closer to the Beacon St. side of the Public Garden, with a DAS node. Proposals for these nodes have come before this commission and others in the area as cell phone providers aim to ensure there is adequate coverage for its customers.

He said that the existing pole is 25 feet, nine inches tall, and the replacement pole will be nearly 28 feet with the antenna on top. He said that this particular location “calls for the equipment to be located higher up on the pole.” The equipment is located on the shaft of the pole, rather than on the base.

Brinn said that there are a total of four street lamps that provide cell coverage from Beacon St. to Boylston St., and they are spread out fairly evenly.

The Commission voted to approve this proposal.

David G. Mugar Monument

A monument in honor of the late David G. Mugar, who had worked on the Boston Independence Day celebration since 1972, is proposed to be erected on the western side of the Music Oval on the Charles River Esplanade. Mugar passed away earlier this year.

His daughter, Jennifer Mugar, as well as sculptor Robert Shure and David Strom, were on hand to present the proposal.

Shure explained that the monument is to be located in between two trees that are 27 feet apart, and would be set back about 30 inches from the sidewalk. He said that they have been working with Strom on preserving the trees and their roots during the installation of the monument.

Strom said that these trees are already “under a decent amount of stress” and some of the roots might need pruning. There will be monitoring onside during excavation to ensure there is no damage to the roots.

Shure then talked about the design and materials for the monument, saying that it will be an “eight foot high portrait of David” with a granite base and a tablet that Mugar will lean on that will feature a narrative piece for people to read. The Mugar statue itself will be bronze, and the monument will be coated in a wax material that will protect it against graffiti.

He also showed other monuments near the Hatch Shell, such as the General George Patton, Jr. monument, the Charles Devens Monument, the David Ignatius Walsh Monument, and the Maurice Tobin monument.

He said these sculptures are also around eight feet tall, which means the Mugar will fit in with the existing sculptures.

Joe Cornish, Director of Design Review for the Boston Landmarks Commission, said that he has received a letter from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in support of the monument.

R. Jefferson Smith also submitted a comment, saying that he believes Mugar “was a great man,” according to Cornish, but he had concerns about the sculpture’s design.

Margo Newman said that “I think David Mugar was wonderful and everything he did was wonderful,” but had concerns about the trees.

The Commission voted to approve the monument with the provisos that the footing be lowered “at least three more inches along the low point so you don’t see any of the exposed concrete footing,” as well as asked for the installation of a paved portion leading up to the sculpture to avoid a muddy area in front. The applicants will also contact staff if any issues with the tree roots are discovered.

Jacob Wirth Restaurant

Architect Scott Treneer proposed an accessible front entrance for the Jacob Wirth Restaurant at 31-39 Stuart St.

There are several doors on the front facade of the building—he said that the door on the right labeled 31 and the door on the left labeled 39 are for the residential units above the restaurant.

The door labeled 37 is where the proposed accessible entrance will be. He said a closer and an automatic opening device will be installed, and will provide access to the vestibule and a lift.

On the interior door, there will be some beadboard wainscoting, he said. Other details were discussed, but things like a railing and potential signage for the door will need to come back before the Commission.

The Commission approved the proposal in concept, but they would like to see more details flushed out and another potential design option as well. The applicant will need to come back with a more detailed proposal.

Christian Science Complex—Sunday School Building

Architect Lan Ying Ip talked about a proposal for the Sunday School Building at 235 Huntington Ave., part of the Christian Science Center Complex. The building is used by the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO) and does not currently feature an elevator. The proposal is to enclose the exterior arch on the northeast corner of the building with glass to create a heated and air conditioned elevator vestibule.

“The proposed elevator will serve the public and some BYSO students at the south end of the Plaza parking garage,” according to a slide presented. “An opening in the concrete wall will allow for the elevator door to open into the space.”

The glass is proposed to be low iron, which will maintain transparency, the architecture team said.

Commissioner David Berarducci said that he “urges” the design team to look at the doors going into Horticultural Hall, as well as the Apple Store on Boylston St. for some examples of well-done doors that are extremely transparent.

“If you could look at both examples,” he said,” that would help make this whole thing disappear even more.”

There was some discussion amongst Commissioners about whether or not the entire arch needs to be enclosed, and an example of the Mother Church was brought up. A similar proposal was approved by the Commission at the Mother Church, as those applicants said that it was important to keep hot air out in the summer and cold air out in the winter, so the vestibule was necessary. Also, it can create pressure on the elevator door and affect its mobility if it is constantly exposed to the elements.

The Commission approved the proposal in concept, but they would like to see more details flushed out and a potential option to not enclose the entire archway. The applicant will need to come back with a more detailed proposal.

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