In 2008, Harvard Art Museums commissioned Oudens Ello Architecture to design a new information desk and museum shop in the lobby of the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. The current home of Harvard University’s ancient, Islamic, Asian, and later Indian art collections, the Sackler is also serving as the temporary home for many of the Fogg Art Museum’s collections during its period of major renovation and expansion over the next five years. During this transitional phase, this desk and shop is the primary information and retail operation for Harvard University Art Museums, which comprises the Sackler, the Fogg, and the Busch-Reisinger museums.
OEA’s efforts were geared towards delivering a desk and shop upgrade that was sensitive to the museum’s needs, schedule and budget, the ongoing operation of the building, and the historical significance of the Sackler, designed in 1981 by renowned Pritzker Prize winner, James Stirling. In addition to creating expanded merchandise display space immediately adjacent to the desk by way of a pivoting bookcase, which can be closed and secured off-hours, OEA was able to realize Stirling’s original vision of lighting the translucent acrylic drum from within like a Noguchi lantern.