The Institutional Armpit
: library of rare erotica situated in Boston's Back Bay Fens
Details: Harvard Graduate School of Design, Core II
Date: Spring 2016
Critic: Tom de Paor
Exploring an interest in the feedback between bodies and space, corporeality and communication, this project situates a rare books library within Boston’s Back Bay Fens. Flanked by the high culture institutional army consisting of the MFA, the SMFA, the Isabel Stewart Gardner Museum, and Simmons College, to name a few, this rare books collection is yet another institution but introduces a low brow player into the mix. Rare erotica, pornographic text and artwork, and anatomical writing fill the stacks. The two main facades confront the ISGM and the SMFA, severing their direct views into the park and allowing the library to claim the southern tip of the park as its own, in its armpit. The library progresses linearly, pulling visitors through its innards through a sequence of unlikely and uncomfortable programmatic adjacencies.