Luminous Abattoir

Andres Alvarez-Davila | spring 2017 HAA 96B Connections studio 

Abattoirs (slaughterhouses) are expressly designed around strictly delineated processes, marked by the division of clean and unclean, pure and impure. The latter division also un¬derpins the historic sacred.   The sacred here involves the balance between not seeing anything at all and of seeing too much: a dialectic of hiding and reveal¬ing.   This building, a design for an abattoir in the center of Harvard Square, itself is conceived of as a body, like that of the chicken, that has been cut through. In order to preserve the obscurity and impenetrability of mass the number of openings onto the exterior were minimized. The few passageways created through the act of cutting, howev¬er, highlight relationships within the urban fabric, and open onto the three-hundred year old cemetery that abuts the site.