“Wavelength,” a new public art installation designed by Harvard University Graduate School of Design Associate Professor in Practice of Urban Planning Daniel D’Oca (MUP ’02) and his colleagues at Interboro Partners, Tobias Armborst and Georgeen Theodore (both MAUD ’02), is bringing color and shade to Harvard’s Science Center Plaza. It is the latest addition to a space that has become one of the most popular gathering places on campus since opening in 2013.
Comprised of a series of nylon flags suspended from a steel structure, the multi-colored canopy was designed to activate the concrete crossroads between Harvard Yard and the Science Center while also providing some much-needed shade. The area plays host to a variety of summer programming, from free Zumba to a weekly farmers’ market, and serves as a popular walkway.
The structure was commissioned by Harvard Common Spaces, which manages the Science Center Plaza. The office grew out of President Drew Faust’s Common Spaces Program, which launched in 2008 and was chaired by GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi and Elizabeth Cohen, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Program seeks to engage underutilized sites around campus as a way of bringing the University community together.
“One of our objectives is to make the plaza a destination for the Harvard community 365 days a year,” Common Spaces Director Julie Crites told the Harvard Gazette. “This shade canopy will greatly enhance the usability and overall enjoyment of the space in the warmer months.”
The installation’s palette, composed of reds, oranges, and the occasional blue, draws inspiration from the iconic brick buildings of Harvard Yard as well as the color accents found on the Science Center building. The canopy and its shadows move with the wind like a series of successive waves, as its title suggests.
Video courtesy of the Harvard Gazette.
“Wavelength” joins an area with deep connections to the GSD. The plaza itself was designed by Stoss Landscape Urbanism, founded by Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture Chris Reed (AB ’91), while Peter Walker’s (MLA ’57) Tanner Fountain and former GSD Dean Josep Lluís Sert’s Science Center sit on the site. Interboro Partners has also designed some modular furniture for the common space.
A seasonal addition to the plaza, “Wavelength” is on view now through August 17, 2018, with plans to return next summer and beyond.
Read more about “Wavelength” in the Harvard Gazette.