The Gates at Harvard Have Stories to Tell
To Blair Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic of The Chicago Tribune, the wrought-iron gates that ring the campus green at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., are more than decorative. They are storytellers through design and time capsules of university history, which he and the students he taught as a fellow at the school’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism explore in the book “Gates of Harvard Yard” (Princeton Architectural Press). Its thoughtful essays examine the 25 gates surrounding the yard, popular with tourists as well as students, alumni and staff. The following are excerpts from an interview with Mr. Kamin, the editor of the book.
对于曾经获得普利策奖的《芝加哥论坛报》(The Chicago Tribune)建筑评论家布莱尔·卡明(Blair Kamin)来说，位于马萨诸塞州剑桥的哈佛大学校园绿地周围的铸铁门不仅仅是装饰而已。它们的设计讲述着自己的故事，而且还是学校历史的时光胶囊；卡明和自己在该校尼曼新闻基金会的学生们在《哈佛广场之门》（Gates of Harvard Yard，普林斯顿建筑出版社[Princeton Architectural Press]）一书中对它们进行了探索。这本书中构思缜密的文章研究了环绕这个广场的25道大门，它们深受旅行者和学生、校友以及员工们的喜爱。下面是对该书编辑卡明的采访节选。
Built in 1889, the Johnston Gate at Harvard University signified a turning point in the school’s architectural history.
Q.You could have covered other interesting architectural features at Harvard. Why gates?
A. The gates really sound the opening notes in Harvard’s architectural symphony, and yet most students and tourists pass by them in their rush to write the next paper or pose for selfies alongside the John Harvard statue. I wanted to dig deeper and find out what these portals were all about.
You call them ‘carefully wrought constructions that direct human movement and uplift everyday experience.’How?
In the same way that a funnel channels the flow of water, gates funnel the flow of people, but they do so with great artistry, and that’s how they enrich everyday human experience. One of my favorite gates is the Dexter Gate. Above the entrance is an inscription that’s often quoted, “Enter to Grow in Wisdom.” And that inscription summarizes the passage from ignorance to wisdom that a university education is supposed to be all about. Most of the gates were designed by McKim, Mead & White, a great architectural firm, and they are a family, a series of theme and variations whose materials are brick, wrought iron and stone. So if you stop and look, you see things like a cross that represents Harvard’s commitment to training ministers, or you’ll see delicate flowers and leaves made of wrought iron that extend the pastoral identity of Harvard Yard out to the street.
答：这和水渠的原理是一样的，这些门起到的是给人群分流的作用，但这是通过极高的工艺技巧实现的，从而也丰富了人们日常的体验。我最喜欢的一扇门就是德克斯特门(Dexter Gate)，入口上方的铭文经常被引用，“为增长智慧走进来”。这句铭文概括了大学教育的目的，就是提供一条从无知到智慧的通路。大多数门都是由伟大的麦克基姆—米德与怀特建筑公司(McKim, Mead & White)设计，它们同属一个家族，是同一个系列的主题和变种，它们的材料都是砖头、铸铁和石头。所以，如果你驻足观看，便会在这些门上发现许多细节，比如一个十字，它代表着哈佛培养牧师的承诺；还有精致的铸铁花朵和叶子，它们把哈佛广场的田园之感一直延伸到街头。
Why was McKim, Mead & White chosen, and did its involvement lend continuity to the Yard?
McKim, Mead & White was the great establishment firm of the era. They designed New York’s Pennsylvania Station, the so-called cottages of the rich in Newport, R.I., and the Boston Public Library. They were the go-to firm for an institution like Harvard. The first gate, the Johnston Gate, was built in 1889, which was more than 250 years after Harvard’s founding in 1636. The gate was really a turning point in Harvard’s architectural history. The architect Charles McKim rejected the florid, multicolored, Victorian Gothic style of Memorial Hall and instead turned back to the colonial Georgian-era buildings as his inspiration.
答：麦克基姆—米德与怀特是那个时代伟大、权威的建筑公司。他们设计了纽约的宾夕法尼亚车站，所谓的罗德岛新港富人村，还有波士顿公共图书馆。它们是哈佛这样的机构会首选的公司。第一道落成的是约翰斯顿门(Johnston Gate)，于1889年竣工，是在哈佛于1636年成立250多年后落成的。这道门确实是哈佛建筑史上的转折点。建筑师查尔斯·麦克基姆(Charles McKim)抛弃了纪念堂那种多种色彩、过分华丽的维多利亚哥特式风格，让殖民时期的乔治王朝风格建筑重新成为他的灵感来源。
What surprised you most about inspecting the gates so closely?
Just how beautiful they are. They keep giving you new details that enrich the experience of looking at them. For example, there’s a gate that’s dedicated to Charles William Eliot, the long-serving president of Harvard, and if you look at the wrought iron in that gate it has a whimsical nod to Eliot’s Pilgrim ancestors with a little Pilgrim’s hat. The contemplative atmosphere of the yard would not be the same if not for the gates and the fences that delineate a barrier between town and gown. Harvard Yard is surrounded most typically by a fence so it’s visually transparent. You get a sense of the beauty of the yard, the buildings, the sculptures, which are all accessible to passers-by as they walk along even outside of the gates.
答：就是它们有多么美。它们一直都能让你发现新的细节，丰富你的观赏体验。比如说，有一道门是献给长期出任哈佛大学校长的查尔斯·威廉·艾略特(Charles William Eliot)的，如果你注意看，就会发现门上的铸铁用一顶清教徒的小帽奇异地暗示了艾略特的清教徒祖先。如果没有这些门，没有勾勒出大学城和校园之间界限的屏障，就没有广场上那种严肃静思的气氛。哈佛广场仿佛被一道视觉上透明的屏障围绕着。你能体会到广场、建筑和雕塑的美感，就算只是在那些门外走过也是一样。