As plans for Harvard’s Allston campus continue to take shape, the University is working to ensure that the future hub for experimentation and innovation in the sciences, business, and entrepreneurship also becomes home to a boundary-breaking arts space, which will have its opening celebration this fall.
The ArtLab, a 9,000-square-foot structure on North Harvard Street in Barry’s Corner, is undergoing final preparations to host faculty, artists, and students in an interdisciplinary laboratory devoted to creativity, innovation, collaboration, and connection. The building was designed by the German architect Barkow Leibinger in partnership with Watertown’s Sasaki.
The structure has a pinwheel configuration, with studio spaces, sound and recording rooms, a small exhibit area, and a workshop arranged around a 1,600-square-foot multipurpose, open-space hub that can be used for collaboration, gatherings, exhibitions, film screenings, dance rehearsals, and more. The ArtLab will be overseen by the Office of the Provost, and used by artists University-wide.
The building’s name is a nod to the collection of innovation labs already in place in Allston: the Harvard i-lab, the Launch Lab X, and the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab. The arts space also builds on Harvard’s longstanding embrace of interdisciplinary work and scholarship, and the influx in recent years of faculty who are accomplished artists and performers, among them dancer Jill Johnson, pianist Vijay Iyer, jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding, writer Teju Cole, A.R.T. artistic director Diane Paulus, and flutist Claire Chase.