Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Handbook
The architect chosen to complete preliminary design, known as the schematic design phase, has several important tasks. The first is to become completely familiar with the Library Building Program Statement and its requirements. This knowledge will be supplemented by conducting interviews with library staff, the trustees, and in some cases, library users.
Through these discussions, the space requirements and area descriptions in the Program will be refined. If alternate sites are being considered, the architect will then compare the sites in terms of feasibility and cost. If expansion and renovation of an existing building is being considered, the architect will determine whether the Program requirements can be met using that building and site. Once the architect completes the feasibility study and makes his/her recommendation, the trustees need to make a final decision based on the advice of the architect, the library staff and the building committee. This decision takes into account the broader issues of finance, town-wide concerns and public support.
The architect will then produce a series of drawings, each becoming more detailed, that translate the Program into an actual building plan within the context of its site. A series of review meetings will be scheduled where the architect will present the revised plans. Trustees, or their representatives on the building committee, along with the Library Director need to be involved in this important stage of the process. While architectural design will evolve even further during design development and construction, the schematic design sets a critical pattern for the project's success or failure. The plans shown to the community to gain town support are often schematic designs. The schematics are the plans submitted in a grant application to the MBLC.