Phillip Denny

Harvard Square

Material Tectonics Studio.
A reimagining of Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA.

Harvard Square is a highly utilized public space at the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Located at the juncture of Harvard University and Cambridge, the Square is a space that serves a broad set of disparate user groups. Tourists, professionals, students, academics, and urban vagrants are compelled to interact in a condensed space.

The proposal aims to reorganize and reimagine existing program: the T stop entrance canopy & elevator, and Out of Town News shop, while maintaining circulatory efficiency, improving spatial flexibility, and intensifying the experience of cross-cultural interaction.

A faceted glass and steel canopy hovers above the T entrance and elevator, creating a broad covered space within the Square. The Out of Town News shop is reconceived as an interactive media pavilion, in which transit users may quickly read news headlines or check the weather forecast.

In tandem with the Harvard Square re-design exercise, the team designed and integrated a unique concrete component. A series of elements were designed and rapidly prototyped through the use of CNC-milling and subsequent casting. The final design combined the concrete element with a rigid spindle that allowed the component to be deployed in an immense variety of arrangements. The flexibility of disposition allowed for component planes to be gradually rotated, introducing incidences of cross-site transparency.