Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) GLX Lechmere Station - CODAworx

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) GLX Lechmere Station

Client: Randal Thurston, Artist

Location: Cambridge, MA, United States

Completion date: 2022

Project Team

Custom Glass Fabrication

Stephen Balik

GGI (General Glass International)



Art Commission

GLX Integral Art Program

Glazing Contractor

Ipswich Glass


Randal Thurston


The multi-year Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Green Line Extension (GLX) project consist of multiple new stations that took several years to bring to fruition. Each of the seven new stations which included reconstruction of the Lechmere Station incorporate a unique work of art crafted by different artist. The public art was a well-planned part of the entire project, with each artist carefully selected by the GLX Integral Art Program. The artist for Lechmere Station was Randal Thurston who designed the rhythms of vines and flocking birds on a very large scale. GGI recreated the design for three elevator towers and across 122 individual panes and approximately 2,200 SF of laminated glass using the company’s Alice® direct-to-glass printing technology.


The intent of the public art displays was to humanize the environment and to create a unique experience at each station to be enjoyed by the riders and the various communities.


As with all public art projects, there is an intense collaboration process between the artist and the GGI design team to ensure colors, opacity and other elements are precise. The 9/16" thick laminated glass configuration: 1/4" Low Iron Tempered - .060 PVB - 1/4" Low Iron Tempered with Alice® direct-to-glass printed design on the #3 surface. The ceramic frit ink used to create the Alice® design is fused into the surface of the glass for a durable, colorfast solution.The artwork for Lechmere Station was created by Randal Thurston and it titled, "Thicket". The artist succeeded in bringing nature into the environment while paying homage to the salt marsh that once existed in this area. As the image spans numerous individual panes of glass within the curtainwall, it is critical that each portion of the design aligned properly. Each glass panel is identified to ensure proper installation and to facilitate ordering replacements if ever needed.

Additional Information

As shared by Artist, Randal Thurston: "Our mandate from the MBTA was to improve the rider experience, however you define that. I wanted to acknowledge [the site’s] history, both with the flora and birds that are native to that area, but also with the text provided by Brewster’s journals. It was a way of celebrating the history of that place and also natural history as an observation-based discipline. My interest in creating artwork that incorporates nature comes from a sensibility very much like Brewster’s. By paying attention to details—a wing, a leaf—I think we can get a clearer sense of our place in the world. We gain a deeper understanding of who we are sharing it with. And one thing I wanted to do was create a little bit of an oasis from everyday life. Even if people are frustrated that the last three trains were full, they will find some relief by looking at the images around them...The elevator was a way of thinking generally about movement. I was thinking about how the transit station functions; there’s an ebb and flow of travel. And as I was thinking about movement, I thought about the growth of those vines. I thought it would be an interesting experience for people when they’re transitioning from the ground level to the transit level..."