Barkow Leibinger

Barkow Leibinger
Schillerstraße 94, D–10625 Berlin
T +49(0)30 315712 -0 F -29

Harvard ArtLab

ArtLab is a new building for Harvard University located along North Harvard Street in the Allston Campus. It will serve as an activator for this part of the campus while providing much needed spaces for the arts in all of their diversity on campus.

The driving concept and programmatic idea for the project is to offer these much needed spaces in a close proximity to each other in a hybrid and overlapping way for students, teachers, and visiting artists while offering exhibitions and performances to the public. It can be curated and adapted by its users be they students or artist/ instructors. The building is organized as a one-story pinwheel/ cruciform plan with a series of artist studio spaces, common space/ exhibition, workshop, and video sound spaces which surround a common “hub space” at the center which is conceived as a flexible bridging high space for performances (dance, film, art) or exhibitions. The building is intended to be light and industrial in character in-line with its use and intention.

The building is constructed of lightweight steel columns and open web steel trusses in both the high bays and lower on a concrete slab on grade. The steel framing is clad in either transparent insulated glass or in lightweight polycarbonate panels. These panels are either translucent to light or opaque when backed by insulated closed walls. The framing is mechanically fastened and can be erected or taken down economically and quickly. The choice of these materials is to emphasize the buildings ephemerality while providing robust and adaptable spaces for the arts.

The ArtLab complies high energy efficiency standards. It will appear as a beacon or “light box” by day or night. If the site is no longer available the building could be moved to another site on campus in order for it to have a second life and purpose.

Project Information


Barkow Leibinger, Berlin

Frank Barkow, Regine Leibinger



Martina Bauer (Associate), Sebastian Awick, Johannes Beck, Jordan Berta, Sophia Hannekum



Artist Studios, Workshop, Video and Sound Studios, Exhibition and Event Space



Allston, MA, USA



9,000 sq ft |  840 qm



Spring 2018 - December 2018



Harvard University

Architect of Record

Sasaki Associates Inc., Watertown, MA


Construction Manager

Lee Kennedy Co. Inc., Quincy, MA


Structural Engineering - Concept

Werner Sobek, New York


Structural Engineering - Executive

RSE Associates Inc., Watertown, MA


MEP/FP Engineers

BR+A, Boston, MA


Landscape Architect

michael boucher landscape architecture, Freeport, ME