Skyview Commons

Welcome to the Harvard Skyview: Common Spaces. Reimagined. Located at the Harvard University Richard A. and Susan. F. Smith Campus Center, the Skyview is an overhead screen that projects dynamic, thoughtful, inspirational, and ever-changing imagery. We consider the Skyview to be an immersive evolution of the Crossroad Series at Harvard Commons, which seeks to unite members of the university community for public activations and community exhibitions. The installation seeks to nurture inspiration and forge community through space transformations, game nights, and student exhibitions. 

Skyview Commons takes advantage of the key inspiration design principle of vastness with its extraordinary and dynamic overarching projection. Visitors can look up and soak in the ever-changing thought-provoking imagery that we hope will serve as the spark for people to connect with each other in new and exciting ways. The installation aims to cultivate a sense of awe and wonder. Skyview also takes advantage of the design principles of skill and admiration as the installation showcases exemplary and inspiring student work. 

The Skyview will be installed at Richard A. and Susan. F. Smith Campus Center in the building’s main centralized gathering space on the ground floor. We envision the installation to encompass the entire open concept area with a natural transition into the second and third floors. The Skyview prides itself on the production and exchange of ideas. Skyview Commons aims to offer a diversity of programming where members of the university community will be able to come together, share, discuss, reflect and connect.

Events offered by the installation will include game nights, space transformations, and community exhibitions. On game nights, Skyview transforms into a scoreboard for arcade games to inspire connectivity and interactivity. In alignment with the design principle of admiration, the projection will also feature celebratory and tributary artwork for events like Black History Month and Women’s History Month. The installation also has the capacity to host movie nights with ceiling projection. Skyview ensures that physical space produces as well as enhances intellectual, cultural, and social experiences. 

Taking inspiration from the Common Spaces open campus initiative to stage community activations, we’ve also offered the option for students to project and showcase their work on the Harvard Skyview in the Smith Campus Center. Subject to the approval of the events committee, individual students and extracurricular organizations will be able to share artwork, graphics, animation, poetry, and other materials of interest with the community. Skyview presents the unique opportunity for this work to be displayed in a well-trafficked setting to the greater public. This process can be completed through an online form on the Common Spaces webpage, where students will be asked to share the title of their work along with a short description of its purpose and meaning. Applicants will subsequently be asked to provide an image of the work in question along with the dates on which the work is to be displayed. Selected proposals will draw from the university community across departments and institutions, resulting in a diverse array of programming.

LINKS OF INTEREST

Notes Page: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iKcu9LDXHZvOd2nkSedZ1N6eIpU-o9whSKzT7K8CWJU/edit
Slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1WmkzbuBxJGS7b6ZaEYoW9nnH_mHaPOPjuvxCAgLyi7E/edit?usp=sharing
Presentation Recording: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Bwdcn0ZZEjIxfvdzmbAvNbfK4sDckVOk/view?usp=sharing

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  1. Comment #2
    I love this idea! It seems like an awesome way to bring more students together and better utilize the student center beyond the hours people normally use it. One interesting extension could be to collaborate with Harvard museums and student artists to bring more visibility to the art being produced on campus. I think it could be a great way to engage more students with communities and bubbles they’re not involved with, especially considering how much traffic goes through the campus center.
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  2. want to see real
    “The desire to reach for the sky runs very deep in the human psyche.” The Skyview that’s available 24/7 in campus public space is desirable, and you are making this installation even more functional by making it an interactive screen displaying different projections. For me personally, what stays a little bit nebulous is its function for other events. A screen on the ceiling can be an interesting place to look at when people in the space are spending their spare time, while for people busy with conversations and other social interactions the installation may lose its significance.
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  3. Future Landmark
    I definitely want this idea to come into reality. Your digital front page looks amazing! The Skyview can be both visually appealing and serve as a communication channel of the community. The current technology also is able to produce at least part of the effect you described here. I have seen overhead screens used as a culture symbol or landmark. For example, the overhead screen in Beijing near Guomao is a massive LED screen next to the mall. Many people come here to visit and people gather for festivals. I think Skyview can become something similar, a symbol to gather people of the community. One concern: would having a screen overhead constantly affect people in any way? Would this light affect people’s regular lives?
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  4. Commitment to the Arts Scene
    I really enjoyed the focus on converting a product (space) which exists into a more engaging, fulfilling one for students (similar, in this way, to the Happy Cafe). I think that the success of events such as the rollerblading event held in the Smith Center a few weeks (months?) back demonstrated that it has huge potential to be more than a tourist hang out/study space for students. Also, this project seems like it would be expensive but entirely possible, given that this type of technology exists elsewhere. I also think that using it specifically to exhibit the artistic works of students would be hugely emboldening and allow Harvard to demonstrate a commitment to the artistic scene on campus as it fails on other fronts to provide them with the resources they need. A question: how long would works be diplayed for? Also, would the type of work displayed be limited to specific mediums? Could, for example, dancers submit performance footage?
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  5. Would love to see this
    I love this idea and I definitely agree that this space you be utilized in a much more effective way. This would be a great way to try to keep people positive and happy especially throughout winter with warm colours and sky scenes. I love the idea of displaying artists work as well
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  6. Revival!
    As interface becomes more and more interwoven into our built environment, I think this is a great addition to a popular student space. I would however question it’s distraction for a study space in the main atrium area, but nonetheless in social spaces like the food hall/areas this might be more effective. Visuals look great!
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  7. Originality

    Practicality

    Desirability

    Want it to be real

    Love this idea!
    LOVE THIS IDEA! It is really practical and also I want to see it real! The most interesting part is that students could project their own work on the ceiling, which could inspire more students to submit their work. One more thing that I could think of to expand this project is probably to add the sensor feature that people could interact with the projection, which could be more interesting.
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  8. Different demands of the space
    I really like this idea! I think it’s super smart to incorporate an installation that helps bring everyone together under the same sky – literally. I think it’s definitely important to appeal to uses of the Smith Center besides just as a gathering space, and your emphasis on the different seasonal and thematic projections as well as using the panels as a way to display art really gets to this idea. However, some people also value the main Smith Campus area as a workspace, especially during class hours, and so I wonder if you have any clarifications for how to balance these two goals (of work space and also a community gathering space). It could be interesting to alternate between neutral projections (like the weather ones that you mentioned) and projections that encourage productivity (such as brief work tips or visualizations of the Pomodoro method, for example) during the day, and then begin to use the screens more creatively in the evening. Overall, I think this is a great idea but if you took it further I would like to see more about the balance between different needs and demands of the space.
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  9. This should actually be implemented!
    This is such a wonderful, realistic idea! I do think that certain images/designs could be very distracting for students, so it would definitely be useful to consider certain guidelines for submission.
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  10. Skyview Commons
    I think this product is really effective in engaging the physical space of the Campus Center with student work in a sense that it doesn’t at all, to my knowledge, currently. This gives so much more meaning to the space because it aligns the space with its outcome and your design is really beautiful and awe invoking. I think my only real question is whether you have thought of how you would want to attribute the work so that the student artist got credit. I really would love to see this in reality.
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  11. This is such a coool idea
    I’ve never even thought about this as an idea, but now that you guys have, I can’t believe it doesn’t exist. I think it would make people so much happier to look up and see the sky rather than some metal beams or weird gray pipes. Further, making it accessible to students to show their own stuff is a beautiful idea. How amazing would it be to walk into the smith center, point out the ceiling to your friend and be like, yeahhh that’s my stuff.
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  12. This Would Be So Cool!
    I would love to have this in the Smith Campus Center! I think one of the reasons people aren’t always as social in Smith as they could be is also that some people treat Smith as a quiet study space, and others treat it as a space to hang out with friends. If you implement this idea in certain spaces of the building, you could help resolve this tension by designating the “Skyview Commons” area as a specifically social space. If you wanted to take this idea a step further, and inspire people to have meaningful conversations outside of just their friend groups, you could also maybe add spaces or tables with deeper questions and conversation starters, such as “What matters most to you right now?” or “What can you do today to make your life better?” Then you can use the concept of awe not just to inspire people to be social, but also to reflect on their lives and have important conversations.
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  13. Really Dynamic Space
    If this common space had this feature, I would be mesmerized. It’s so cool to have the ability to change the images and present art through this model. My only wonder is how distracting it would be. I know the space is typically used during the day as a study space for students. Although the space is typically loud, most students can either tune out the sound or utilize it as white noise in order to work. If there is a screen above them, would this distract them and change the purpose of the space?
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  14. What a great idea!
    This idea seems like it would actually work in real life. Smith Campus Center is great… as another place to do work. You’re so right that it has not accomplished its goals in bringing students together. By utilizing the ceiling (a space often ignored or forgotten), students would definitely be more engaged. If I could go and see my friend’s art, for example, or engage with an interactive wall art, I’d be much more inclined to talk to others about it. Great job.
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  15. Originality

    Practicality

    Desirability

    Want it to be real

    WOW
    This is one of my favorite ideas because it involves transforming a space that already exists in a way that is in line with the space’s current design aesthetic as well! I think that the Smith Campus Center has been a multipurpose space and having this installment would make a unique (and functional) lighting fixture for performances and presentations. My favorite aspect is the commitment to showcasing student art through the installment. I think the technology for this exists, its just a matter of putting it all together.
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  16. Skyview Commons
    I like this idea of re-designing the existing space by installing the screens on the ceiling. By this method, the place itself, Smith Center in this case, could be an attraction not only for Harvard community but also for tourists. I would suggest pushing this idea forward into prototypes that more places in Harvard could install such screens to showcase students’ works.
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  17. super cool
    I love this idea a lot. There is so much potential for more avant-garde uses of the Smith campus center, and this would fill that void. Personally, Smith feels like a liminal space; an intervention of this sort would make it more of a place you’d want to spend time in, or spend an evening “star-gazing” rather than just viewing the Smith as a walk-thru space, or public study space.
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  18. need it
    I would love to see this come true. While I agree Harvard did solid job with the student spaces, I think there is a big lack of inspiration and arts feel. These commons would provide thst for students and bring them out of the element of bland colors and the feeling of every other common space on campus.
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