Light on the Gardens

September 24, 2013
The sliding wood panel over the Winter Garden, facing Broadway. © Payette. Photo: Rashad Baniabbasi.

Walking along Broadway, you might have noticed a recently unveiled feature of our new Harvard Art Museums facility: a wood panel jutting out ever so slightly from the glass Winter Garden. What you might not know is that it’s actually moveable.

Light is at the heart of Renzo Piano’s design of the new Harvard Art Museums, and this sliding wood panel exemplifies his dual purpose in nearly every aspect of the project: to protect works of art from harmful light while letting controlled natural light flow into the galleries.

Working in tandem with the light-diffusing shades, the wood panel that is attached to both Winter Gardens (there is one facing the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, as well) can be positioned seasonally to shade works of art. The panel can also be opened when we want to showcase the Winter Gardens, at certain times of the year or for special events.