Client: United Dominion Realty Trust, Inc. (UDR)
Location: Boston, MA, United States
Completion date: 2018
Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting
United Dominion Realty Trust, Inc. (UDR)
Located in Boston’s South End, 345 Harrison is a new 570,000 SF, 585-unit apartment complex comprised of two residential towers and 30,000 SF of ground-floor retail. Thoughtful, curated art programming enhances the overall residential experience and extends throughout the entirety of the building. Two key pieces in the building lobby define the setting from the initial entry: a 38’-11” x 18’-8” bronze aerial sculpture creates a distinct sense of arrival and community presence, while a 38’ x 8’ display of welded iron nails spanning the wall of the mezzanine reflects the unique urban elegance which characterizes the space.
Integrated with overall architectural goals, the two focal art pieces of 345 Harrison’s glass-fronted lobby were designed to establish a defining street presence for the building that would serve as a beacon to the community and introduce a unique residential experience tailored to the surrounding neighborhood. The bronze ceiling to wall canopy above the reception desk is visible from the street and offers a memorable first impression of the space to both residents and pedestrian passers-by. Designed to synthesize form, pattern, and light, the sculpture pulls from local data inputs, activating an interactive lighting program, while drawing on historic features of the site to create a custom, undulating form that connects the property to its surroundings. The movement and energy captured in this iconic entry piece carry over to the mezzanine, where iron nails welded into botanical shapes dissipate into graceful wisps as if blowing with the wind. The two pieces introduce a creative convergence of seemingly opposing elements– geometric and organic forms, polished and authentic materials, urban and refined styles – creating a unique and dynamic space that reflects the distinct style of the up-and-coming neighborhood while offering an impactful contribution to the community aesthetic.
Rather than display the final product of an artist’s individual work, both client and architect were highly involved in all stages of production. Organizing a design competition that would champion collaboration from start to finish, the design team created a unique partnership with the artist that would ensure cohesiveness throughout 345 Harrison’s art program. From weekly workshops to participation in the physical installation process, artist, client, and architect played a crucial role in developing the artistic vision and seeing it through to completion.
In one key example, the proposed design for the sculpture above the concierge was developed to respond directly to its urban environment. Its undulating shapes were achieved by curating overlays of the intersections from the mapped geological and civic features of the city’s harbor region over time, resulting in an intricate pattern of nodes and connections depicting the urban fabric, which inspired the final form. After reviewing with the design team, the piece was modified to incorporate more faceted, abstracted qualities, mirroring the sophisticated urban feel of the neighborhood. The resulting honeycomb shape was then complemented by organic contours formed by molted metal on the reception desk below.