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Pine in the Sand

Cambridge, MA



Pine in the Sand is a living installation and public artwork at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Cambridge, MA. A monument to impermanence, the installation invites visitors to reflect on environmental change and the labor of maintenance and upkeep.

The installation is comprised of a mound of sand planted with a pitch pine, Pinus rigida and partially contained by a ring of concrete barriers. Opposite the mound, rows of granite benches form pew-like seating. Visitors are invited to interact with the installation by playing around the pile and raking the sand with provided tools. Through the seasons, the sand shifts, the tree drops its needles and grows, and small animals burrow and move in. The installation acts as a register for environmental change and draws attention to the labor of maintenance and the interdependence of human and natural systems.

Pine in the Sand was the winning entry for the fourth cycle of the Radcliffe Institute Public Art Competition.

Client: Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Collaborators: Cambridge Landscape Company, Pine & Swallow Environmental Services, New England Specialty Soils
Size: 4000 SF
Budget: $80K