Defining/Unraveling an Edge: An Exhibition Space and Cultural Center for the Arnold Arboretum

site:The edge condition between the Forest Hills T-stop and Harvard University\’s Arnold Arboretum.The Forest Hills T-stop shares an undeveloped boundary with the Arnold Arboretum. The site, which faces west into the Arboretum, is a sloping knoll that both separates and joins the pristine beauty of the Arboretum, the urban movement and chaos of the T stop, an elevated expressway and a small-scaled urban commercial and residential area. The site, which is currently used as an illicit access point to the Arboretum, represents a confluence of many different edge conditions, and issues of threshold, unfolding, joining, weaving,separating and dissonance will be explored at both the level of site planning and construction intentions:In an effort to bring the larger ideas of the project into all realms and scales of design thinking, students will develop a site strategy and a building that is conceptualized to the level of construction detail, materiality and furniture design. The intention is to create a body of design that \”prioritizes the subjective\” by exploring the tectonics and craft of building in a way that supports the direct human experience of the space.Issues of the site and its relationship to architecture will also be at the center of the studio. There will be an attempt to heighten the awareness of the site, whether visceral or temporal. The edge condition between inside and outside will be explored, as will the overall siting strategy. The studio will also explore ways in which a design can exploit, register and reveal natural processes and phenomena in order to expand the sculptural and spatial into the temporal. Light and shadow, wind, rain and the relationship to the ground plane will be explored to enhance the experience of the phenomena of the site and the temporal events offered by a particular place.program:The building program will include a large exhibition space, a restaurant, lecture hall (capacity 300), classroom spaces, multipurpose community outreach space, gift shop and all attendant service spaces required. Total program area = 20,000 to 30,000 sq. feet. Students\’ input on program content for their individual projects will be welcome during the first three weeks of the studio. process:Building design and development throughout the semester, with the following exercises interspersed:-Precedent study: to open the studio to an increased level of discussion and shared knowledge.-Site analysis: to provide collective and individual understandings of the place, from which concepts and designs emerge.-Wall section development: to explore the materiality of the project and the relationship of inside to outside.-Spatial and perspectival studies: to place direct human experience at the center of the project\’s site and building strategy.-Furniture design: to transform the larger ideas of the site strategy and building strategy to a scale that is in direct relationship to the human body. IMAGES For 1306