SCB’s Jack Kerouac Center Designs Go Public

Date Published

SCB is proud to announce our work with the Jack Kerouac Foundation on a new museum and performance center in the author’s hometown of Lowell, MA. The project reimagines the former St. Jean Baptiste Church, Kerouac’s childhood parish and site of his funeral, into a museum, performance venue, educational center, and bookstore/café. SCB collaborated with the Foundation to create a master plan and conceptual design for the project to help kick off a capital campaign for the Jack Kerouac Center.

SCB Principal Bryan Irwin commented, “We are very energized by the opportunity to work with the Jack Kerouac Foundation to create a home for the museum and performance center that expresses the importance the City of Lowell played in his life and serves as a catalyst for the city’s vibrant arts scene.” 

The design concept centers on a point/counterpoint inspired by Kerouac’s writing: a material balance is struck between the static, heavy stone of the historic church and the lighter, transparent intervention of a glass addition. Inside, a staircase alludes to the famous scroll on which Kerouac wrote On The Road. Adds Irwin, “Kerouac was formed by his experiences growing up in the neighborhoods of Lowell, and his relationship to the Catholic Church was both complicated and critical to understanding his work. We sought to reflect this in a design that strengthens and enhances the existing edifice and neighborhood while creating a new dialogue—a new way of seeing and interpreting this fabric.”

Learn more here.