Contemporary African Art Collection / Jean Pigozzi
|Cooper Gallery Lights Up Mount Auburn Street|
|The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art glows at nighta lantern of lit cedar against the dense red brick of Mount Auburn Street. Visitors get their first look into the building through slices of glass, between tall cedar slats. The architect, W.E.B. Du Bois medalist David Adjaye, built the gallerys façade to resemble a forest; its doors, also glass, form a clearing that welcomes people in.
Wood and water are the critical materials of the Middle Passage story, Adjaye said at a panel discussion in late October, introducing the new addition to Harvards Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. They are, he added, totemic of the history between Africa and America. When considering how best to add to what he called the perfect urban set piece of Harvard, Adjaye resolved to build a façade that expressed a civic spirit. He wanted something visibly distinct and slightly removed from its neighbors commercial traffic; nothing that resembled a lobby for an office building.
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