Campus & Community

The still moment

CGIS South cherry trees.

At CGIS South, flowering cherry trees make a constellation of blossoms above a person working on a laptop computer.

Photos by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

3 min read

Aesthetic patterns and repeating forms give shape to life at Harvard

The geometry found in spaces and places on campus sets the stage for an array of academic activities such as teaching, learning, research, and cultural exchange. Whether they are monumental, miniature, or momentous, these found patterns and architectural details offer repose and new perspectives into the history and lore of Harvard. Fleeting moments in time can be witnessed in between classes or while seated on a rainbow of chairs in Harvard Yard’s Common Spaces.

Jordan Rowe '24 reads a book.
Trees crisscross in the Mather House courtyard.

Jordan Rowe ’24 reads on a hammock in the Leverett House courtyard. Students pass through a Mather House courtyard as trees sparkle with light.

Chairs linne up in the CGIS Knafel Building courtyard.
The CGIS Knafel Building, and I.M. Pei’s masterpiece glass skylight are framed by foliage and chairs as a student passes by.
The Pride Flag is displayed in a bay window at Lehman Hall.
An easle with a palette showing a frenzy of colors.

The Pride Flag is displayed in a bay window at Lehman Hall, which houses the GSAS Student Center. An easel and palette show a frenzy of color, forming a colorful composition at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard.

A bicyclist rides past the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.
A person walks past the glass cube windows at Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.

The Carpenter Center is housed in the only building in North America designed by Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier. The proportions of the building were designed in relation to the proportions of the human body. A student in shadow passes by glass-cube windows at the Carpenter Center.

Intersection of Holyoke Street and Mount Auburn street is pictured from above.
This view, from a student lounge on the 10th floor of the Smith Campus Center, shows a flurry of activity at the intersection of Holyoke Street and Mount Auburn.
Pierre-Louis Lechere, GSAS student plays tabletennis.
Holworthy Gate casts shadows.

Pierre-Louis Lechère, a GSAS student in the Wood Lab, enjoys a heated ping pong match inside the Science and Engineering Complex (SEC). At Holworthy Gate in Harvard Yard, red brick, blue sky, and spring blossoms merge together as people pass through.

A chandelier hangs in the Barker Center lobby.
Inside the Barker Center, late-afternoon light pours through a chandelier made of antlers.

Inside the Thompson Room at the Barker Center, a highlight on a rug creates an abstract pattern.

Thompson room rugs have a colorful abstract pattern in the Barker Center.
A new gate was unveiled in Harvard Yard.
Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #830 brightens the lobby of 485 Broadway Street.

In 2020, the Solomon Gate was unveiled in Harvard Yard, near Houghton Library. It was made possible through support from Peter J. Solomon ’60, M.B.A. ’63, and his wife, Susan. Students take an artful stroll past Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing #830,” 1997, a colored ink wash inside the lobby of the Arthur M. Sackler Building at 485 Broadway.

Precious Njong Tahnji walks up grand staircase inside 485 Broadway Street.
Precious Njong Tahnji, an IT contractor with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, climbs a grand staircase while working inside 485 Broadway.
An ornate gate decorate Leverett House.
Entrance to Annenberg Hall at Memorial Hall is decorated with an ornate gate.

An ornate gate is reflected in the entrance of Leverett House. A monument commemorating Edward Augustus Wild, Harvard Class of 1844, who freed more than 2,500 slaves during the Civil War, graces the entrance to Annenberg Hall at Memorial Hall.

Arches of Memorial Hall frame the Science Center.
At Memorial Hall, arches frame clouds and students passing by the Science Center outside Annenberg Hall.