001 & 4 Sert Gallery Interior Detail.jpe

Sert Gallery

Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Harvard University Art Museums required the creation of a new art gallery within the Carpenter Center, the only building by Le Corbusier in North America. An environmentally independent space was created, ideal for the display of contemporary art. The gallery can accommodate a broad range of exhibits, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, photographs, and video. An adjacent café and roof terrace were also added.

The Carpenter Center’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places required that the work proceed in close collaboration with the National Park Service as well as the Le Corbusier Foundation in Paris. As a result, the gallery, café, and support infrastructure were designed to be completely removable, leaving no permanent marks on the existing building. This led to a structural system consisting of hydraulic jacks that anchor the partition system to the floor and ceiling of the existing building. These walls are then sheathed in plywood, and, in select areas, hot-rolled steel panels. The exterior wall of the gallery forms a more public display area which is visible from the open-air ramp that traverses the building.

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