An inhabitable spacesuit sculpture; a portal to another world.
Spacewalk, a public installation at Third and Binney Streets coming Fall 2017, is a link and tribute to NASA’s presence in Cambridge, MA in the 1960’s. Two inhabitable spacesuit sculptures bring the city’s brief but central role in the iconic Space Race back to life.
Our hope is that by highlighting Cambridge’s unique partnership with NASA, local citizens might pause for a moment when passing the suits, inhabit the sculptures for a moment, and dream of limitless possibility.
SPACEWALK ENGAGES WITH ONE OF CAMBRIDGE’S LEAST KNOWN BUT MOST CONTROVERSIAL URBAN PLANNING INITIATIVES.
In December 1965, 29 acres of city blocks in Kendall Square were identified as land to possibly raze to make way for a state-of-the-art space research complex meant to house the new electronics research division of NASA. After one building was completed and remained operational for four years -- which still stands today as the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center -- NASA abruptly closed the facility in December 1969, cancelling all future development of the remaining 25 acres. After the government funding evaporated and the space agency pulled out of Cambridge, a barren concrete expanse remained mostly vacant for decades.
after the feds moved out, the local community stepped in.
Through the efforts of many local stakeholders, including the Cambridge City Council, the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, and various private entities, Kendall Square has evolved to be the area’s most active, and now, booming, biotech hub: all great successes in spite of -- and in part, due to! -- the original NASA agreement not proceeding as originally planned.
With a thriving Kendall Square today, we have the luxury to step back and take into account fate’s twists and turns. In service of understanding the perseverance of the local community, we can afford to ask provocative, speculative questions:
What if NASA had remained and grown into the fabric the Cambridge community? How might the citizens of Cambridge influenced NASA’s space exploration programs?
We can only dream, wonder, and speculate on who our astronaut neighbors might've been, and who we might've have been as a community who's fate was bound to the stars.