Location: Cambridge, MA, United States
Completion date: 2022
Architect, interior Designer
Artists for Humanity
Artists for Humanity
The newest multifamily building in the innovation-centric Cambridge Crossing neighborhood, Park 151 introduces an environment which captures Cambridge’s inherent creative and innovative milieu, appealing to the life science community taking root within the mixed-use urban district.
Cascade at Park 151 transforms simple, utilitarian materials into a graceful, dynamic sculpture that combines light, art, and science in a sophisticated blend of Cambridge’s creative, innovative spirit. Local teens from Artists For Humanity (AFH) turned three miles of steel ball chain into a stunning installation spanning 50’ of the lobby ceiling. Commissioned by Boston developer DivcoWest and in partnership with CBT, AFH designers created a captivating, one-of-a-kind art installation that inspires the creativity of Cambridge.
The sculpture drapes strands of silver beads to form an organic, cloud-like structure flowing throughout the upper portion of the lobby. Custom lighting is calibrated to shift color temperature throughout day and night, echoing organic rhythms of the natural world. Inspired by the concept of minute scientific elements creating a whole – think the Milky Way or DNA – Cascade and Park 151’s design channel the intellectual, innovative natures of prospective Cambridge residents.
Envisioned as an ideal home-base for science and innovation industry professionals, Park 151 is the newest multifamily building in the innovation-centric Cambridge Crossing neighborhood. Located on the northernmost point of a new park, the 468-unit Park 151 is designed to engage community, from its welcoming entry to park-side amenities. The interior design of Park 151 incorporates light, color, art, restrained details, and subtle refinement, using materials that feel both “techie” and artistic, to capture the creative energy of this highly inventive neighborhood. From the lobby’s entrance, where a glass-walled vestibule clad in dichroic film transforms light to appear across a spectrum of colors, one-of-a-kind design elements inspired by art and science surround one, always inviting a second look. Most important to the design team, was to bring a sense of creative community spirit to the building.
Cascade’s graceful cloud-like swaths, intricate detail, and complex composition offer an inspiring focal point in Park 151’s gallery-like lobby. The sculpture’s unique and beautiful form activates the space with distinct artistic expression, while interplay with natural light highlights the lobby’s interior design – neutral, crisp finishes, and distinct furnishings.
Local non-profit Artists For Humanity (AFH) was introduced to the Park 151 project by CBT Principal Vickie Alani, and commissioned by prominent developer DivcoWest to introduce a distinct, suspended sculpture that would grace the building lobby. Over three years, the design and fabrication process involved a multitude of AFH teen designers seamlessly entering the process, working in collaboration with AFH design mentors to bring their artistic vision to life. Small mock-ups were tested to determine optimal lighting positioning to create a dynamic interior that would also change with the sun’s movement through Park 151’s large lobby windows. Cascade was fabricated to scale on wooden frames – each piece meticulously placed, marked, and packaged to be delivered to Park 151 for installation.
“This isn’t about art hanging on a wall,” CBT Senior Principal Vickie Alani points out, “this is such an integral piece that learning to work with contractors and schedules and lighting, manufacturers and structural engineers, is what it took to make this piece.”
Cascade provided a unique opportunity to pair the fresh, boundless thinking of young artists with the knowledge of experienced industry professionals to create an inspiring and captivating new space.
Artists For Humanity uses creativity to build equity. It is a place where young people are employed to explore and express their creative abilities, working collaboratively with professional mentors to share their voice on the public stage. Teen designers sketch, prototype, and experiment with diverse materials, transforming clients’ ideas into vibrant interiors or public art. The Studio has gained national attention for fabricating artistic bike racks, large-scale sculptures and interior wall and ceiling installations, architectural details, monument signage, eco-friendly furniture and more. A few additional words from teen artist and DivcoWest about the impact this project had on them personally and professionally: AFH 3D Designer Aaliyah Hernandez shared, “I’m excited because [Cascade] is going to be showcased in the building. [That] means that my artwork is being seen, and that it’s out there in the world for the community to see.” John Weigel, Senior Development Executive, DivcoWest reflected, "I'm delighted all the way around. I’m delighted with the process. I'm delighted with the individuals. I'm delighted with the piece, and I'm delighted with the professionalism that they [AFH] brought to the project."