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Mark London email
The following email dated June 8 was sent to Island officials and hospital designers:
As I'm sure you know, last week, the Martha's Vineyard approved the Hospital architecture last week, recommending that the original tower design be restored, and asking for samples of the brick before it is ordered. Paul Foley is sending a certificate of compliance to the Oak Bluffs Building Inspector.
However, the Commission's approval of the architecture was not without considerable discussion, if not to say a certain amount of concern. When a Commissioner said that the earlier "shingle" design was a better-looking building, several Commissioners agreed.
Given the highly exposed location, the decision to go from siding to brick was prudent in order to reduce the risk from natural disasters. However, it must be admitted that converting this into a brick building means it is much more difficult to make the Hospital fit into the character of the Vineyard. There is no denying that it will be massive compared to other buildings on the Island; the use of brick will make it stand out even more.
Of course, there had been issues with the original design - not obvious in the small perspective sketch - such as what the uniformly-colored artificial shingle would really look; the fact that the front facade was so different from the other three facades, the fact that much of the detail might seem somewhat fake. And there were concerns about the second design, a brick building with vestiges of wood trim, at least on the front.
At and after last week's meeting, Commissioners questioned some of the same aspects of the design of the main facade that we all had concerns about before: Besides the loss of the wood trim, concern seemed to focus on the large expanses of brick,.and that the building was generally too stark.
With respect to the color, Commissioners repeated the discussion we had previously about the pros and cons of grey, beige, and red brick, as well as the possibility of trying to match the brick made from the clay on the Island. The comment was made that "the perspective makes it look pink; we don't want a pink hospital!" I suggested to Tim Walsh and Tim Sweet that you get a mock-up made of the proposed brick and mortar including the joint profile. I would think the Hospital administration and Board would also want to see this.
Though the scheme has been approved, we might ask ourselves whether a few final refinements could reduce the visual scale of the building and especially the expanses of brick. Here are some personal reflections.
All of the above suggestions for your consideration are easy to implement, low-cost refinements. Based on last week's discussion, I'm pretty confident that if you came back with a few minor refinements, it would be dealt with expeditiously.
The informal committee of local architects remains willing to provide feedback at any time, to help make this the best possible building. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.