According to Harvard University Art Museum director Thomas Lentz , "we have a plan that makes sense for us (the art museums), and makes sense for the university."
What we don't know how this plan makes sense for Allston. Here is some of what we do know:
- The proposed building is 60 feet high. The neighborhood plan expects buildings in this area to be no more than 35 feet high.
- To accommodate the 200 employees, students, and visitors, parking for 150 cars is needed. Only 10 parking spaces will be on site. Harvard doesn't have a permanent location for the other 140 spaces.
- The building is more of an office and storage building than an art museum. The 130,000 sq ft building has 20,000 sq ft of storage space and 20,000 sq ft of office and conservation space. Less than 10% of the building will be gallery space, where probably fewer than 100 pieces of art will be on display. It is not clear that this will be the "significant new cultural facility" and "neighborhood and regional attraction" envisioned in the North Allston Strategic Framework.
- The Allston community and Task Force have been excluded from the planning of this project. Harvard and their architect attended the August 14 Task Force meeting to talk about the plans for the museum at the Citizen's Bank building (meeting minutes are posted here). Three months later we learned from this Boston Globe story that Harvard changed their mind and the museum would be next to the Dunkin Donuts. At the December 11 Task Force meeting, Harvard and their architect were back, to show us their "preferred option" for the building's design and tell us that this is what is best for Harvard.
The Globe coverage of this issue make it a great opportunity to write a letter to the editor to tell the Allston side of the story.