Celebrate new Allston installation, ‘WE ALL,’ Oct. 21

Photo by Justin Knight

3 min read

Join the Allston-Brighton community for the opening celebration of “WE ALL” at the Grove in Barry’s Corner, Allston (167 Western Ave.) on Saturday, Oct. 21, from 4–7 p.m. This public event offers an opportunity to check out the installation, meet the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) team behind its design, play lawn games in The Grove, and enjoy some light snacks.

“WE ALL” was designed by GSD students 
Francisco Alarcon (M.Des. ’18), Carla Ferrer Llorca (M.Des. ’17), and Rudy Weissenberg (M.Des. ’18). Its construction was overseen by the GSD’s Director of Exhibitions Dan Borelli. The inaugural installation at The Grove, “WE ALL” triumphed in a two-stage GSD competition initiated in November 2016, in partnership with the Harvard University Office of the Executive Vice President, Harvard Campus Services, Harvard Planning Office, Graffito SP, and the Zone 3 initiative.

Production of “WE ALL” commenced in March 2017 and concluded in late August, with the finished installation measuring nearly 200 feet long and eight feet tall, framing 7,000 square feet of gathering space. It presents a communal open space framed by a segmented, vibrantly colored wall, comprising hundreds of PVC and plexi-glass tubes that illuminate at night to create a lively and dynamic atmosphere. Amarillo-yellow ground paint and a series of benches activate the corner as a gathering space.

As the competition jury noted, the “WE ALL” student design team best responded to the core competition ideal: merging art, design, and interaction, while also considering the context of the neighborhood and its residents and stakeholders.

In its competition submission, the team states that the “ALL” in the project title is intended as a shortening of “Allston,” meant in turn to generate a moment of introspection and encourage a participatory reconstruction of its identity. By adding the “WE,” they aim to suggest inclusivity, diversity, and representation.

“This statement hopes to stir a sense of locality, pride, and responsibility,” the team writes. “It is a spatial, empathetic embrace.”

Central to the competition process was a community-engagement exercise required of each team, calling for students to interview members of the Allston-Brighton neighborhood in order to better understand what they wish to see at this public site. Community members were invited to an exhibition of the competition’s five finalist proposals, and offer their feedback, during a public exhibition in February 2017.

“WE ALL” represents not only the first built project at the Grove, but also a critical milestone for the Harvard-sparked Zone 3 initiative. The hub of Zone 3 activity is currently the series of buildings at 267 Western Avenue. Formerly a dry-cleaning facility and an auto-body garage, these buildings were transformed in 2015 through Harvard-led efforts.

Recent Zone 3-inspired activities have included outdoor movie nights with the Brattle Theater, innovative art installations, community fitness classes, and pop-up cultural and retail events. Zone 3 continues to explore new programs and canvasses, all as part of Harvard’s effort to connect the creativity and energy of the Allston-Brighton neighborhood to its ongoing cultural and academic work at the Harvard Ed Portal, on Harvard’s campus, and throughout the community.