Peter J. Solomon Gate at Harvard University

Cambridge, MA
Credit List:
Höweler + Yoon Architecture; Eric Höweler, Caroline Shannon, Namjoo Kim, Ching Ying Ngan, Karl Heckman, Mengzhe Ye, Aryan Khalighy

The Peter J. Solomon Gate welcomes visitors into the historic core of the campus. One of twenty-five gates lining Harvard Yard, its asymmetrical configuration creates a place to sit, and emphasizes that it is designed to be open. The new gate is situated on Quincy Street directly opposite the Hallowell Gate, framing the newly renovated Houghton Library. The gate’s curved limestone pillars and whimsical themes draws inspiration from Solomon’s donation of rare editions of children’s books to Houghton Library.

Following the tradition of Harvard’s historic gates, each of which reflects a distinct architectural perspective and aesthetic, Solomon gate contains messages and hidden clues. The horizontal bars of the gate curve to create V-shaped indentations that form the iconic image of the books from Harvard’s crest. Traditional materials like limestone and iron were shaped using state-of-the-art techniques of robotic prototyping and fabrication to create a series of alternating concave and convex forms, and allude to characters from children’s literature. Careful observers will find clues to imagery and text from beloved works, Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.