Don’t be puzzled. Be moved and amazed. Those 10 conical piles of rock, sand, and aggregate in one corner of Radcliffe Yard are actually “Stock-Pile,” a work of landscape art. The installation of pretty and pointy piles is sited on a square of fine gravel just off Brattle Street. Two of the mounds are lush with thick ferns. All of them glow with different muted colors, from buff sand to light gray and shimmering white. Some observers have called the installation, about the size of a living room and shoulder-high, “Zen-like.”
“Stock-Pile” was designed by Boston landscape architect Chris Reed. It’s part of this year’s 10th anniversary celebration for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Reed, a design critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, is principal and founder of Stoss Landscape Urbanism. The mounds line up along a grid, like a pleasing range of intentional miniature mountains. They are to degrade naturally. One of them the other day, made of light-gold sand, bore the imprint of a boot. A seeker?
Radcliffe marked the first decade of its new life on Oct. 1, but is celebrating all year. Next April, it will host a two-day conference on gender and space. “Stock-Pile,” worn down and worn out a little by then, may occasion some comment.