Client: Harvard University
Location: Boston, USA
Completion date: 2010
Artwork budget: $150,000
The Galante Architecture Studio
Acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and innovation through multicultural and multidisciplinary collaboration. Originally begun in 2005, new leadership wanted to establish a long term home in an atmosphere of inclusion. The new 4,000 ft2 space, designed in collaboration with musicians and artists, offers an incubator for cross cultural ideas to flourish. It is the mission of Silk Road to bring musicians from warring regions together to find bridges within their musicianship.
None hierarchal space is essential to foster peace, thought, reflection and healing. The architecture had to find ways of enclosing, yet releasing to allow intensities to build, yet flow from one location to another. A musician’s practice room was conceived as a multilayered partition that delineates the spaces without obstructing vision or sound. Loosely based on the contour of the historic Silk Road trade route for which the organization is named, the dividing wall’s curvilinear tiers suggest a fluid, continuous surface that varies from one side to the other and from floor to ceiling. The stacked surfaces become a continuous threshold, always in a state of visual flux, an attempt to reduce the amount of constraint often placed on musicians from these regions.
Sustainable features include adaptive re-use of former warehouse space, FSC certified materials, recycled content in all office related materials, and connectivity to mass transit buses. However, one could also describe trying to heal warring factions as the highest act of sustainability; if we preserve peace, we preserve people, perhaps the earth’s most precious resource.