2013-08-01 / News

Jamestown glass artist installs two-story ‘water’ piece


Paul Housberg is known for his inventive glassworking technologies in architectural settings. The Rhode Island School of Design graduate was a Fulbright Scholar. 
Courtesy/Carla McLaughlin Paul Housberg is known for his inventive glassworking technologies in architectural settings. The Rhode Island School of Design graduate was a Fulbright Scholar. Courtesy/Carla McLaughlin Architectural glass artist Paul Housberg recently completed a two-story permanent glass installation for the main lobby of Boston’s new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, situated on the Charlestown waterfront.

The piece, titled “Water Walk,” is inspired by water, its movement, the play of reflections on its surface, and the connections between water and healing. Standing at the core of the new state-of-the-art facility, “Water Walk” is the physical and conceptual foundation of the hospital’s art program, whose mission is to contribute to the overall healing environment through pieces that engage, inspire and enliven patients and visitors.

“Throughout history, water has been considered nature’s healer,” said Housberg, who lives in Jamestown. “No matter what one’s beliefs or background, human beings are drawn to water for its soothing movements and fascinating textures, for its meditative sounds and ever-changing surface. It is a metaphor for the presence and flow of life and spirit. It can be a point of focus for meditation and reflection.”


The two-story permanent glass installation in the main lobby of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown was inspired by the movement of water. 
Courtesy/Carla McLaughlin The two-story permanent glass installation in the main lobby of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown was inspired by the movement of water. Courtesy/Carla McLaughlin The relationship between water and healing was Housberg’s inspiration for the work, which consists of milky, mouth-blown sheet glass with vitreous paint laminated to mirror. The installation glows with the lobby’s ambient light, reflecting the movement of the viewer and changing lighting conditions.

Housberg was invited to the project by Boston Art Inc. He collaborated with Derix Glass in Germany to paint and fabricate the mirrored glass panels. In tandem with its concept, the installation also addresses practical considerations. The glass visually ties together the lobby and mezzanine. It turns a formerly imposing elevator core into a humanizing sculptural element and creates an illusion of depth in a relatively compressed lobby space.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is one of the largest inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States. It has been consistently ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s best hospitals each year since 1995 – the only rehabilitation hospital in New England to do so. The new facility in Charlestown opened its doors on April 27, and many of its initial patients were victims of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings.

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