Hall of Ideas

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A neoclassical hall built in 1934, the renovated Hall welcomes visitors to The Mary Baker Eddy Library. 

An original work of art created by acclaimed glass sculptor Howard Ben Tré serves as the centerpiece of this grand hall. The cast glass and bronze sculpture acts as a fountain of constantly changing quotations from some of history’s most influential thinkers. 

In a unique collaboration with media designer David Small, a graduate of the MIT Media Lab, state-of-the-art computer programming is used to project words and ideas throughout the Hall of Ideas. The quotes bubble up from the center of the basin of water in the fountain, flow around the rim toward observers, and finally overflow onto the floor and up the walls onto scrims.

The focal point of the Hall of Ideas, Howard Ben Tré’s fountain, is a cast glass and bronze sculpture that provides the source from which a state-of-the-art computer program and light projection system displays quotes and ideas from the world’s greatest thinkers.

To cast this unique sculpture, Howard Ben Tré worked with Polich Art Works, one of the premiere foundries in the United States. The artisans participated in one of the largest known bronze pours to create the nine-foot-diameter fountain—already making history for the Library. The cast glass used for the sculpture came from the Czech Republic.

Ben Tré is an internationally known sculptor who has been working with the medium of glass since the mid-1970s, when he was instrumental in shaping the studio glass movement that developed in Providence, RI. By combining translucent cast glass with minerals and metals, Ben Tré creates highly original sculptures, including works that currently grace public spaces and museums all around the world. Ben Tré’s artistry now integrates sculpture, architecture, landscape architecture, fountain design, and urban planning.