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GDHarley STUDIO Team Proposed

Public Art for New Building Lobby

Related to New Lowell Justice Center

In answer to RFP Issued By Project Architect

Lowell, Massachusetts



The GDHarley STUDIO Team including Garry D Harley-Artist & Team Leader plus Tarja Cockell-Fiber Artist (Western Avenue Studios), John Francis Welch-Wood Carver Artist (Western Avenue Studios), & Jesse Marsolais-Stone Carver Artist,. The Team made a proposal involving ‘Design Public Art Concepts’ related to two of the three ‘Base Building Areas’ described in the Architect's RFP for the New Lowell Justice Center (double height lobby area).  


First, we proposed various ARTISTIC COMPONENTS to be applied to most of the walls of both free-standing Lobby Kiosks, we did not proposed adding Public Art to the two kiosk walls facing the security equipment to keep these walls free of any visual texture assuming that this would aid in meeting the security concerns and management of the security entrance by the security staff.  


We also also proposed new roof profiles for both kiosks and graphics to be applied to all roof surfaces.  We felt that these would increase the value of the graphic film images we proposed for some of the glazing images viewed as looking up from the Lobby floor by providing supporting images and colors to Justice Center visitors looking down from the second floor into the Lobby and viewing the top or sides of both kiosk roof forms.


First and Second Glazed Wall Graphics


We also proposed historic images / transparent film to be applied to selected areas of both the first and second floor interior glazed (glass) partitions.  The RFP mentioned that there is 1,120 SF available at the first floor and 2,180 SF available at the second floor.  We proposed graphic film art images reflecting historic events, buildings and spaces related to Lowell's unique history and related to nearby neighborhoods to the new Justin Center building be applied to the glass using digital printing technology.

A Hand shake of Gratitude to History


The Overall Design Concept mixed a focus on the Historic Lowell Textile Industry as part of the Industrial Revolution both as a positive event in the economic life of Lowell and the nation but also the fact that much of the labor in this industrial economy relied on child labor and women employees.  This in-turn evolved into the Massachusetts Government and Massachusetts Courts hearing the first court cases and creating some of the first child labor and union related laws in the nation.  


While the nearby existing Water Canals were and are some of the most unique city infrastructure in the nation, much innovation also occurred in the related architectural engineering and construction of the ‘red brick’ mills, mill equipment and machinery and surrounding company town boarding houses.


We responded to these by combining images, historic artifacts, plaques and new construction into our proposed Public Art Design Concept in a manner we felt not only touched on all of these important and interrelated events in Lowell’s history but did so using new public art of beauty and dignity suitable to the Lobby space of an important courthouse in this Commonwealth.  We strived to create public art that would add-to and not detract from the architectural materials and spaces of the new courthouse building and surrounding entry courtyard.

Starting on the left hand of the two story Lobby we proposed images combining historic photographs of mill laborers, equipment and interior views of the textile mills.  We also proposed using an historic photograph of Judge Lemuel Shaw (19th Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court) and a case related to labor unions (Commonwealth v. Hunt decided March Term 1842).  


We also proposed three plaques to be included in the wall component of the Security Kiosk these are;  PLAQUE No. 1-1832 – ‘The England Association of Farmers, Mechanics and other Workingmen resolve that ‘Children should not be allowed to labor in the factories from morning till night, without any time for healthy recreation and mental culture.’ For it ‘endangers their…well-being and health’.  PLAQUE No. 2 – 1836 – First State Child Labor Law…Massachusetts requires children under fifteen working in factories to attend school at least three months per year, and PLAQUE No. 3 – 1842 – Massachusetts limits children’s work days to ten hours; other states soon pass similar laws – but most of these laws are not consistently enforced.  These plaques are proposed as traditional bronze or hand carved stone by one of the proposed artist on our team.


As part of the Security Kiosk also on the left side of the Lobby we proposed a new large textile art work based on the historic city map of the Hamilton Canal District with a special feature showing the location of the New Justice Center in the historic city fabric.  This fabric art work would be mixed together with actual historic textile mill artifacts (weaving loom spools, bobbins and yarn – please see our concept drawings for more information).


The entire left side public art is proposed to include treatment to reflect historic ‘sepia’ or yellow-cast tones often seen in old photographs.


On the right hand of the Lobby we have proposed other large supporting images combining historic photographs of textile ‘red brick’ buildings, canal and water power equipment (canal construction, water wheels, etc.), architectural and engineering design and construction innovations, and company boarding houses.


As part of the Fire Command Kiosk on the right side of the Lobby we have proposed use of historic textile mill loom artifacts combined into displays covering the kiosk walls.  Mixed into these displays would be small photographs of views of women and child factory laborers.


The entire right side public art was proposed to include treatment to reflect historic red-cast tones reflecting the ‘red-brick’ of the industrial town architecture.


Running across the entire ‘ground plane’ of the Lobby we have proposed use of new natural granite stone reflecting the granite side walls of the historic canals of Lowell.  Under the ‘Base Building’ glass partitions currently specified, we proposed inserting these new granite walls at say, 36-42” high replacing the lower portion of current glazing.  The granite is also proposed at the base of both kiosk walls and as door jambs and head lintels at the doors.

On the new granite walls facing the Lobby, we proposed two special hand carved art work benches (one either side of the Lobby), please see the concept drawings for more detailed descriptions of the unique character of these benches which also reflect the intersection of the water of the Lowell canals and the mills in the hand carving techniques and textures of the wood and bench seats.


At the end of these two new granite walls we also proposed new small but important water features also reflecting the Lowell water canals. 


SECURITY KIOSK from 2nd Floor.jpg
Kiosk Design Concept.jpg
Historic Pic's Mill Workers.jpg
Stone Carver.jpg
Bench Design Francis.jpg
Bench View.jpg
Bench Option 2.jpg
Bench Texture.jpg
Riverbed Bench.jpg
Nort Right Wall.jpg

Tarja Cockell-Fiber Artist - Proposed Textile Historic Lowell City Map - Metal Weaving

Nort Wall Leftpsd.jpg

John Francis Welch - Wood Carver Artist - Carved Wood Benches to be located in Public Lobby

Textile Map.jpg
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